Blue Texas

The Making of a Multiracial Democratic Coalition in the Civil Rights Era

By Max Krochmal

552 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 24 halftones, 5 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6151-3
    Published: August 2020
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2675-8
    Published: November 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2676-5
    Published: October 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4764-5
    Published: October 2016

Justice, Power, and Politics

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Awards & distinctions

2017 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American Historians

Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize, Texas State Historical Association

National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco Non-Fiction Book Award

2016 Ramirez Family Award, Texas Institute of Letters

This book is about the other Texas, not the state known for its cowboy conservatism, but a mid-twentieth-century hotbed of community organizing, liberal politics, and civil rights activism. Beginning in the 1930s, Max Krochmal tells the story of the decades-long struggle for democracy in Texas, when African American, Mexican American, and white labor and community activists gradually came together to empower the state’s marginalized minorities. At the ballot box and in the streets, these diverse activists demanded not only integration but economic justice, labor rights, and real political power for all. Their efforts gave rise to the Democratic Coalition of the 1960s, a militant, multiracial alliance that would take on and eventually overthrow both Jim Crow and Juan Crow.

Using rare archival sources and original oral history interviews, Krochmal reveals the often-overlooked democratic foundations and liberal tradition of one of our nation’s most conservative states. Blue Texas remembers the many forgotten activists who, by crossing racial lines and building coalitions, democratized their cities and state to a degree that would have been unimaginable just a decade earlier--and it shows why their story still matters today.

Published with support provided by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

About the Author

Max Krochmal is associate professor of history and the founding chair of the Department of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at Texas Christian University.
For more information about Max Krochmal, visit the Author Page.


"A historical blueprint for Texas activists. . . . [This] history of multiracial civil rights movements in Texas offers lessons for progressives in the age of Trump, one of which is that demography is not necessarily destiny."--Texas Observer

“It would be hard to find a more timely book about Texas political history than this dive into the coalition-building that brought together African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Anglo progressives and labor activists.”--Austin American-Statesman

"A springboard for sharing new and desperately needed information. Bubbling over with long-forgotten names, events, and facts, this archive of Texas history will be dog-eared in advance and in hindsight of many elections to come."--Fort Worth Weekly

“Timely because of the parallels that can be drawn from the past to contemporary issues. . . . A wealth of information for students of social movements and political history. Highly recommended.”--Choice

“A fine accomplishment, and an important addition to our understanding of the struggle for the most basic Civil Rights in [Texas].”--Lone Star Book Reviews

“An amazingly well researched contribution to comparative racial, labor, and ethnic studies and must be read by historians of Texas, labor, Mexican American, and African American history.”--American Historical Review