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Luthuli-Allen / Black and Brown Unity

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Interviewer: Y’all would block-walk through some of the African-American neighborhoods. Could you talk a little bit about that? Lituli-Allen: One thing I do remember is that Maria and I were block working during the time that we were actually doing the voter registration at one of these households in Fifth Ward, one of the residents actually had a heart attack right when we were trying to do the registration. So, we had to get 911 to come out. It interrupted the work that we were doing that day, but it probably saved her life because 911 did get there in time. I think that, maybe we were on the cusp of a new kind of political trend. In other words, you’re seeing a young Hispanic woman and a black fellow out knocking doors, telling people why they need to register to vote. It wasn’t revolutionary, but it was definitely very, very progressive. We always liked the way Maria articulated a vision for a new kind of multinational democratic society. One that did not have these, I guess to not have these features of racial chauvinism and segregation. I don’t know. We got along very well. I don’t know if in today’s times if we would get along as well, but we got along very, very well back during those days. But, see, our entire organization which at that time was the Congress of African People, we were a cadre group. All that we were was really professional organizers. When we endorsed Maria that brought all of our organizers with her. So, they had to really work to win that race, but they had the established machinery behind them. I think it was an association that was really profitable in that I think it somewhat changed the trajectory of the movement. At the time that we shifted from using the term illegal alien to undocumented and I think a lot of that had to do with the influence of Maria. By the way, we did do the—during years there were certain immigrant marches to freedom. Matter of fact, I have a poster downstairs whereby we actually received a gift for being support for being the immigrant marches to freedom that took place which were like reenactments of the Freedom Rides where the busses California, Austin, all the way to D.C. etc. We tried to support that and, of course, the other person I probably need to mention is Ada Edwards. Have y’all had the name of Ada Edwards? Interviewer: I’m trying to get ahold of her. Lituli-Allen: She an ex-city councilperson, but she was a real progressive activist here. One of the things I think impacted us, several times I got a chance to meet, he’s the former Hispanic alderman from Chicago. He’s now a United States Congressperson. Hernandez from Chicago. So, when Harold Washington was elected mayor of Chicago, the Hispanics had a lawsuit against the city of Chicago calling for single member districts. I guess that would have been the equivalent of LULAC here. When Harold Washington came in and he called all the alderman together, and he had the attorneys for the city. He told them we’re not going to defend the lawsuit that the Hispanics have against the city of Chicago. When Harold Washington said that, it meant that they could really go forward and have a real democratic—that you could bring Hispanics into the vote and have single-member districts in Chicago which changed the configuration of Chicago. That was basically one of the things that was mentioned that signaled perhaps a new level of black and brown unity.

Interview Interview with Omowale Luthuli-Allen
Subjects Citizenship › Immigration Status
Citizenship › Political Rights
Housing › Neighborhoods › Residential Segregation
Community Organizations › Civil Rights Organizations › League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
Electoral Politics › Raza Unida Party
Electoral Politics › Election Campaigns
Electoral Politics › Electoral Districts › Single-Member Districts
Tags Jimenez, Maria
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Interview date 2016-06-17
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Luthuli-Allen, Omawale
Locations Houston, TX
5th Ward
Duration 00:06:16
Citation "Black and Brown Unity ," from Omawale Luthuli-Allen oral history interview with ,  June 17, 2016, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database, https://crbb.tcu.edu/clips/3439/black-and-brown-unity, accessed August 24, 2019