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Michelle Hall Kells

Michelle Hall Kells is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of New Mexico. She is the author of Hector P. Garcia: Everyday Rhetoric and Mexican American Civil Rights and first editor of Latino/a Discourses: On Language, Identity, and Literacy Education and Attending to the Margins: Writing, Researching, and Teaching on the Front Lines. Her articles focusing on civil rights rhetoric, community literacy, and ethnolinguistic diversity have appeared in many edited collections and journals.

Vicente Ximenes, LBJ's Great Society, and Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric [Forthcoming]

Vicente Ximenes, LBJ's Great Society, and Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric

"Beginning as a grassroots organizer in the 1950s, Vicente Ximenes was at the forefront of the movement for Mexican American civil rights through three presidential administrations, joining Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society and later emerging as one of the highest-ranking appointees in Johnson’s administration. One of the most influential government representatives of Mexican American issues in recent history, Ximenes succeeded largely because he could adapt his rhetoric for different audiences in his speeches and writings. In Vicente Ximenes, LBJ's Great Society, and Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric, Michelle Hall Kells elucidates Ximenes’s achievement through a rhetorical history of his career as an activist.

Kells draws on Ximenes’s extensive archive of speeches, reports, articles, and oral interviews to present the activist’s rhetorical history and begins each chapter with an excerpt from the collection that showcases Ximenes’s ability to negotiate multiple public spheres. Exploring Ximenes’s legacy against the backdrop of the Cold War era, Kells’s analyses illustrate how Ximenes effectively agitated for open, inclusive, and pluralist democracy at regional and national levels. After a discussion of Ximenes’s early life, the author focuses on his career as an activist, examining Ximenes’s leadership in several key civil rights events, including the historic 1967 White House cabinet committee hearings on Mexican American Affairs, and highlighting his role in advancing Mexican Americans and Latinos from social marginalization to greater representation in national politics. Kells concludes by reflecting on the later years of Ximenes’s life and his contributions to the post-World War II civil rights movement.

Vicente Ximenes, LBJ's Great Society, and Mexican American Civil Rights Rhetoric shows us a remarkable man who dedicated the majority of his life to public service, using rhetoric to mobilize activists for change at the grassroots level as well as at the highest levels of government to secure civil rights advances for his fellow Mexican Americans."

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Hector P Garcia: Everyday Rhetoric and Mexican American Civil Rights

Hector P Garcia - Everyday Rhetoric and Mexican American Civil Rights

"Héctor P. García: Everyday Rhetoric and Mexican American Civil Rights examines the transition of Mexican Americans from political and social marginalization to civic inclusion after World War II. Focusing on the public rhetoric of veteran rights activist and physician Dr. Héctor P. García, a Mexican immigrant who achieved unprecedented influence within the U.S. political system, author Michelle Hall Kells provides an important case study in the exercise of influence, the formation of civic identity, and the acquisition of social power among this underrepresented group.

As a major influence in national twentieth-century civil rights reform, García effectively operated between Anglo and Mexican American sociopolitical structures. The volume illustrates how García, a decorated World War II veteran and founder of the American GI Forum in Texas in 1948, successfully engendered a discourse that crossed geographical, political, and cultural borders, forming associations with the working poor as well as with prominent national figures such as John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Through his rhetoric and action, García publicly revealed the plight of Mexican Americans, crossing class, regional, and racial lines to improve socioeconomic conditions for his people.

Héctor P. García, which is enhanced by sixteen illustrations, contributes to rhetorical, cultural, and historical studies and offers new scholarship establishing García’s role on the national front, effectively tracing Garcia’s legacy of resistance, the process of achieving enfranchisement, and the role of racism in the evolution from social marginalization to national influence."

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Latino/a Discourses: On Language, Identity, and Literacy Education

Latino/a Discourses - On Language, Identity, and Literacy Education

"Rigorous and insightful, the contributors to Latino/a Discourses offer helpful strategies for the English classroom while challenging conventional notions about composition, culture, community, and creative writing."

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