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ERIC Number: EJ925889
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0005-2604
The Life of the Party: Alice McGrath, Multiracial Coalitions, and the Struggle for Social Justice
Armbruster-Sandoval, Ralph
Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, v36 n1 p69-98 Spr 2011
This essay explores the life of Alice Greenfield McGrath, a key player in the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee and a longtime activist whose involvement in social justice issues spanned eight decades. While best known for her role in the Sleepy Lagoon case in the 1940s, Alice fought the "good fight" for virtually her entire life, supporting the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, joining the Communist Party in the 1930s, organizing delegations to Nicaragua in the 1980s, and defending civil liberties and constitutional rights under the "war on terror." Controversy continues to surround the racial and gender composition of the Sleepy Lagoon defense committees and the central role of McGrath, a white Jewish woman. Following Alice's lead, I suggest that rather than seeing these organizations as a one-person effort, it is more fruitful to see them as they were: multiracial coalitions that successfully brought about limited social change. Throughout her life as an activist, Alice McGrath never stopped believing in the importance of issue-based, rather than identity-based, coalitions as instruments of social justice.
UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. 193 Haines Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1544. Tel: 310-794-9380; Tel: 310-825-2642; Fax: 310-206-1784; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nicaragua; Spain