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Caged Birds: The Rebirth of Mexican Incarceration in the United States

May 20, 2014 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Statistics show that Blacks and Latinos comprise just over one half of the nation’s prison population. In California, Black and Brown men, mostly Mexicans and Mexican Americans, make up roughly 70% of the prison population. Thus, when scholars and activists discuss the story of race and mass incarceration in the United States today we often do so in terms of “Black and Brown.”  Historically speaking, however, we know relatively little about the rise of Mexican incarceration in the United States. Beginning in the years after the U.S.-Mexico War (1846-1848), when the project of conquest unfolded in the new Anglo-American West, white settlers pushed toward the Pacific Ocean. In pursuit of land and labor, they criminalized and incarcerated both indigenous persons and Mexicans living in the region. But this chapter of race and imprisonment came to a close as conquest seemed assured by the 1880s. It was not until the 1920s and 1930s when Mexican incarceration swelled again in the American West. Why and how Mexican incarceration was reborn during the 1920s and 1930s is the subject of “Caged Birds: The Rebirth of Mexican Incarceration.” By tracking the carceral history that hangs between the days of conquest and the precipice of our present, “Caged Birds” illuminates one of the roads by which we arrived at “black and brown” imprisonment today. Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez is associate professor of history at UCLA and director of the UCLA Public History Initiative.  Co-sponsored by American Cultures & Global Contexts; AntiRacism, Inc.; and the Center for Black Studies Research.


Event Details

  • Organizer/Sponsor: mcc_programmer
  • Starts: May 20, 2014 6:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Price: $0
  • Location: UCSB MultiCultural Center