On the Move and in the Moment examines the relational community formation of ethnic Mexicans and African American residents in South Central Los Angeles from the post World War II period to 2008. I historicize the complexity of South Central Los Angeles African American and ethnic Mexican residents' racial attitudes, activism, and cooperation, as their lives are constantly challenged by diminishing government services, economic disinvestment, and immigration reform. I argue that a binary understanding of tension and cooperation does not adequately define their interaction, but rather closer inspection of their nuanced and complex daily and neighborly acts best captures the generative power of their community formation. I investigate understudied community sectors like minority owned banking institutions and War on Poverty initiatives in the form of community and government operated health clinics and Head Start programs to demonstrate how a strong African American historical legacy of settlement intersects with a growing Mexican immigrant population. Using archival research, newspapers, and oral life histories, I reveal the fragile state of family health, business, and education among impoverished African Americans and ethnic Mexican South Central Los Angeles residents. My approach to the investigation of the lives of South Central Los Angeles residents does not underestimate how changes in this region's economy, local, national, and transnational interpretations of immigration policy, and disinvestment in the accessibility and quality of U.S. government services have transformed the social, cultural, institutional, and political climate and interactions shaping these residents' interconnected struggles for community and U.S. government services. Their actions serve to re-conceptualize South Central Los Angeles as a globalized city rife with generative race relations where working-class people's decisions are made on the move and in the moment.
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