The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993 Page: 136
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Southwestern Historzcal Quarterly
controlled and anti-Mexican environment of 196os San Antonio, and in the
civil rights movement and Great Society programs of the time. Frustration with
the ineffectiveness of such civil rights politics led Cortes to the IAF. With the
support of IAF Director Ed Chambers, Cortes fashioned a hard-ball Alinsky
approach (often involving dramatic satirical protests) onto the natural organiz-
ing ground of church-based communities.
The experiment began in San Antonio in 1973, when Mexican American
parishioners created the Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) to
pressure officeholders for flood control, paved streets, and other improve-
ments. Involvement in bond elections, in accountability sessions with public
officials, and in public protests politicized the Mexican American "West Side,"
and this in turn was crucial in the 1981 election of the city's first Mexican
American mayor, Henry Cisneros. COPS was thus a major figure (but not the
only one, as Rogers sometimes implies) in the transformation of San Antonio
Such dramatic success in San Antonio led to similar IAF-sponsored efforts in
Houston, Fort Worth, El Paso, the Rio Grande Valley, Phoenix, Los Angeles,
and New York, to mention only a few sites. Expansion beyond San Antonio
meant organizing among Protestant churches, among African American and
white, and among middle-class communities. In short, these organizing efforts
have transcended the particularistic limits of religion, ethnicity, and class while
maintaining a church base and sense of spiritual mission.
Through a series of often poignant episodes, Rogers explores the meaning
of this activism for the private lives of its participants. Since IAF training con-
centrates on developing the skill and insight that allow people to act for them-
selves, the "first revolution" is necessarily internal (p. 61). "Cold anger," for
example, is personal anger, usually fed by the memory of past injustice, that
has been disciplined and directed at some public official, bureaucrat, or
This book, in short, has much to say about the type of community organizing
that transforms personal relationships and builds the foundation for a new po-
litical culture and ultimately, perhaps, for a pluralistic political environment.
For Rogers, the IAF movement-network represents hope that a true grass-
roots democracy may yet be realized. Much of Rogers's discussion on this point
reveals a profound skepticism of traditional partisan politics.
Rogers's clearly written book will be of great value to the scholar, student,
and layperson interested in urban politics, ethnic relations, social movements,
or church activism.
University of Texas at Austin DAVID MON'TEJANO
Urban Texas" Polztics and Development. Edited by Char Miller and Heywood T.
Sanders. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1990. Pp. xv+ 2o8.
Introduction, graphs, tables, notes, index. $15.95, paper.)
Urban Texas successfully challenges the "Sunbelt cities" notion that urban
growth was only a post-World War II phenomenon in Texas. Growth, as the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993, periodical, 1993; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/m1/162/?rotate=270: accessed June 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.