Ignacio M. GarcíaChicano While Mormon: Activism, War, and Keeping the Faith

Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2015

by David-James Gonzoles on August 25, 2015

Ignacio M. García

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Identities are complicated things. Often contradictory and rarely easily understood, identities emerge early in ones life and are shaped continually through daily social relations as we seek to make sense of the world and our place in it. To some, the identities of Chicano and Mormon may seem contradictory or oxymoronic. The prior is an ethnic identity born out of the social activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s with specific reference to the cohort of Mexican American students and activists that embraced cultural nationalism and the anti-assimilationist politics of self-determination. The latter is a religious identity associated with a form of nineteenth-century Anglo-American Protestantism and conservative social values and politics. Yet, for Dr. Ignacio M. García, Professor of Western & Latino history at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, there is no contradiction in being a Chicano Mormon. In his recently published memoir, Chicano While Mormon: Activism, War, and Keeping the Faith (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2015) Professor Garcia recounts how his faith, acquired as a member of a Spanish-speaking Mormon congregation in the west side barrio of San Antonio, formed the basis for a lifetime of social activism and academic scholarship. In this deeply personal narrative, Dr. Garcia addresses the tension of navigating two seemingly contradictory social groups while growing up in a segregated barrio, fighting for America abroad, and organizing for la raza at home.

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