In the late 1960s, the American city found itself in steep decline. The urban crisis was fueled by federal policies that destroyed neighborhoods and displaced poor and working families under the guise of urban renewal. The urban drama included religious institutions, themselves undergoing fundamental change, as they debated whether to stay in the city or move to the new and growing suburbs. Against the backdrop of the Black and Brown Power movements that challenged economic inequality and white supremacy, young Latino radicals began occupying churches and disrupting religious services to compel church communities to join their protests against urban renewal, poverty, police brutality, and racism. In this talk on November 3rd, Dr. Hinojosa unravels these intertwined histories of Latino radicalism and religion in urban America and call attention to the ways Latino radicals and religious reformers clashed, negotiated, and collaborated. And more importantly, examine how religion and radical politics fueled the engines of the Latino freedom movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, Dr. Felipe Hinojosa is an Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He serves as Director for the Carlos H. Cantu Hispanic Education & Opportunity Endowment at Texas A&M, and is editor for the interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, and online moderated forum Latinx Talk. His work has appeared in Zócalo Public Square, Western Historical Quarterly, American Catholic Studies, and in multiple edited collections on Latinx Studies. His new book, Apostles of Change: Latino Radical Politics, Church Occupations, and the Fight to Save the Barrio (University of Texas Press, 2021) is set in four major cities (Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Houston) where in 1969 and 1970 Latina/o radicals clashed with religious leaders as they occupied churches to protest urban renewal, poverty, police brutality, and racism.