Through the lens of the Community Service Organization (CSO), this article explores the emergence of Los Angeles ethno-racial communities' political activism and what enabled their success in a difficult Cold War climate. The CSO's creation in 1947, when it became the first enduring civil rights organization for the largest urban Mexican-origin population in the United States, is striking since historical narratives generally assume the Cold War crushed meaningful civil rights change. The CSO complicates this declensionist narrative. Its success stemmed in part from its reliance upon interracial networks that sustained it in its early years. The CSO reveals links between different racial and ethnic communities, in three different eras-the World War II, Cold War, and civil rights eras-that made the emergence and persistence of such activism possible.
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