Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945

By George J. Sánchez | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

I began this study in order to get to know my parents. Immigrants to the United States from Mexico in the 1950s, they lived in a world I always felt close to, but never fully understood. Born in the United States, I never experienced the personal challenges of moving from one country to another, changing one's citizenship, and committing one's life to an adopted nation. As I grew older, I came to realize that my own life as their son had been clearly and intentionally demarcated by the courageous decisions that my parents made years before. Their lives have been full of sacrifices made on behalf of their children. Both my father and mother provided loving guidance to each of us and demonstrated how to pass on values from one generation to another. In addition, they nurtured in my sister, brother, and myself a fierce independence of thought and action which, while certainly making parenting more demanding, also enabled us to live richer lives. For providing me with the moorings needed to live my present life, this study is dedicated to them.

Writing this book has been a continuous process of crossing intellectual and personal borders. I had the privilege of beginning it under mentors who were as committed to me as to the completion of the project and who made this journey ever more challenging. Albert Camarillo guided my entire graduate career, nurturing this project in its infancy with unbridled compassion and decency. He is a role model for me in every sense of the term. Estelle Freedman consistently raised my level of analysis by challenging me to ask difficult questions. She taught me to communicate my answers in direct and forceful ways. Other current and former faculty at Stanford University, including Carl Degler, Don Fehrenbacher, and Michael Kazin, were critical to the development of my abilities at crucial times in my graduate career.

The difficult transition of turning the dissertation into a book was aided immeasurably by several historians who shared their insights, enthusiasm, and time, reading various versions of the manuscript and offer

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