California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA

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UC Berkeley California Studies Dinner Seminar: Sandra Nichols and Friends, “Uncovering the Lost Latino History of the Napa Valley” March 22, 2018

Sandra Nichols and Latina students from Napa Valley College will discuss the Latino history of the Napa Valley on Thursday, March 22, 2018.  Latinos have played a central role in the economic and social development of the valley from the original Mexican land grants in the 1830s to the crucial participation of Latinos in today’s winery and vineyard workforce.   Nichols and a group of Napa Valley College students have been working to uncover this largely lost history, with particular emphasis on the impact of the Bracero Program of the 1940s and 50s.  Nichols is a geography scholar with special expertise in patterns of Latino migration in California and has been affiliated with the UCB Geography Department and the California Institute for Rural Studies in Davis.  She will be accompanied by students who have combined historical research with contemporary activism.

The session will be from 7-9:15 p.m. at the UCB Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, 2521 Channing Way, Berkeley (just east of Telegraph Ave.).  Free admission and dinner.

Contact Charlotte Rutty at

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Women and African Americans Struggled for Employment Equality During WWII

Who was left to build ships after men went to fight the war against fascism? Everybody else. A massive labor migration to defense industries began. And the most difficult labor decision Henry J. Kaiser faced was how to handle union opposition to accepting the new workforce in his West Coast shipyards in Richmond and Portland.Carroll-issue-OSC19420813_0215-1-med.jpg

Three recent articles explore the complex challenge faced by women and African Americans to get union jobs in home front industries.

White women were the first excluded group to win full admission to the Boilermakers Union. African Americans had to suffer with a separate-but-unequal “auxiliary” level of that union until the war’s end, but they fought back as well.

The arc of justice has moved forward; the Boilermakers Union is a major sponsor of the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park and actively recruits women and people of color in the trade.

-Lincoln Cushing