The Catholic Interracial Council and Mexican American Civil Rights in Davenport, Iowa, 1952–1974
This essay examines the politics of the Catholic Interracial Council (CIC) and Mexican American activism in Iowa from the 1950s to the 1970s. As a national church body, the CIC worked to bridge the racial chasm that existed in black and white Catholic churches in places like New York and Detroit. In the Midwest, and Iowa in particular, the CIC included an eclectic mix of Mexican American, African American, and Anglo religious activists. The CIC organized for an end to police brutality, fair housing, equal access to education, and farmworkers’ rights. By focusing on the CIC, this essay shows how religious activism was part of the larger project of community formation that helped give rise to Mexican American civil rights activism in Iowa and across the Midwest.