‘Making a Non-White America’

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, United States on 2013-09-23 18:47Z by Steven

‘Making a Non-White America’

inside: CSUF News
California State University, Fullerton

Mimi Ko Cruz

Allison Varzally’s Book About California’s Ethnic History Wins National Award

Interracial marriages and other ties in diverse communities throughout California during the formative years of the 20th century are explored in Allison Varzally’s book, “Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955.”

Published by University of California Press, Varzally’s book has won the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s 2009 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Award in American Immigration History.

The award, which comes with $1,000, is presented for the book judged best on any aspect of the immigration history of the United States.

Varzally, assistant professor of history, said the honor “is exciting recognition from an organization that I admire.

“Some of my favorite books in the field have won this award,” she said.

Varzally, of Los Angeles, uses the voices from oral histories she conducted to weave a scholarly interpretation on the state’s history. She touches on World War II, the Zoot suit riots, discriminatory laws, segregation, class, politics, religion, work and education.

The book’s cover features a picture of Sugar Pie De Santo, a Filipina-black woman who grew up in San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the 1940s.

De Santo, Varzally said, “creatively and selectively borrowed from her parents’ cultures, enjoyed her blended family background and became a famous musician.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2013-09-23 01:28Z by Steven

Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955

University of California Press
April 2008
318 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780520253452
E-Book ISBN: 9780520941274

Allison Varzally, Associate Professor of History
California State University, Fullerton

On the cover: Future R&B singer Sugar Pie DeSanto in San Francisco’s Fillmore District (circa 1940s)

Winner of the 2009 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

What happens in a society so diverse that no ethnic group can call itself the majority? Exploring a question that has profound relevance for the nation as a whole, this study looks closely at eclectic neighborhoods in California where multiple minorities constituted the majority during formative years of the twentieth century. In a lively account, woven throughout with vivid voices and experiences drawn from interviews, ethnic newspapers, and memoirs, Allison Varzally examines everyday interactions among the Asian, Mexican, African, Native, and Jewish Americans, and others who lived side by side. What she finds is that in shared city spaces across California, these diverse groups mixed and mingled as students, lovers, worshippers, workers, and family members and, along the way, expanded and reconfigured ethnic and racial categories in new directions.


  • Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. California Crossroads
  • 2. Young Travelers
  • 3. Guess Who’s Joining Us for Dinner?
  • 4. Banding Together in Crisis
  • 5. Minority Brothers in Arms
  • 6. Panethnic Politics Arising from the Everyday
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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