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Civil Rights in the Texas BorderlandsDr. Lawrence A. Nixon and Black Activism$
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Will Guzmán

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038921

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038921.001.0001

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Tale of a Doctor, History of a Land

(p.1) Introduction
Civil Rights in the Texas Borderlands

Will Guzmán

University of Illinois Press

This introductory chapter looks at the social and political contexts behind the intertwined histories of Dr. Lawrence Aaron Nixon and the American West. As a Black man in the United States, Lawrence Nixon was exposed to constant cultural conflict merely for being who he was: “unapologetically Black,” which in the minds of some was the antithesis of being an American. The chapter first shows how Nixon's life in El Paso, Texas, illustrates both the Black West's regional distinctiveness and its continuity with the legacy of African American history in the rest of the nation. Nixon's life is also an example of the diversity of the Black past and the existence of multiple African American historical traditions. Next, the chapter places Nixon's contributions to the civil rights movement in a broader context and demonstrates how it paved the way for future resistance.

Keywords:   Lawrence A. Nixon, Black West, El Paso, cultural conflict, African American history, African American traditions, civil rights, American West

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