In the not-so-distant past, racial segregation was not only acceptable but was required, and efforts to dismantle it finally began in 1954 with the Supreme Court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (Rodgers and Bullock 1972). While some cities peacefully desegregated their facilities, the southern states continued their archaic aggressions towards social progress through creating school legislation to slow the process (1972).
Over the next 10 years, the various congresses and presidents showed little to no action towards advancing desegregation, and it wasn’t until congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forced government departments to report the status of desegregation to congress and the president, that there was some movement towards equality (Wise 1974). While a Supreme Court ruling and a congressional act should be enough to force progress, the Civil Rights Act of 1969 had to be passed a few years later to make it so people could not be discriminated against for any individual reason (Wise 1974). However, both the 1964 and 1969 acts took too long to be officially enforced laws and were still met with local government resistance (Wise 1974).
In 1975, immigration in the United States was a prominent topic of political discussion. This was partially due to how “the Immigration Act of 1965…resulted in increased immigration” (Irwin 1972, 23). The media also reported the Senate’s rejection of H.R. 982 in 1973 as a failure (Hohl 1975).
When “The Central Valley Opportunity Center 1984 Annual Report” was published, nearly all farmworker families living in the Central Valley of California lived below the Federal lower-living standard (CVOC, n.d., 8). Seventy five percent of migrant farmworkers spoke little to no English and language barriers combined with their itinerant existence meant that few were educated beyond the sixth grade. CVOC’s report gives a detailed account of the actions the organization took in 1984 to support migrant farmworkers’ struggle for survival. This report is valuable for understanding the foundations and efficacy of CVOC’s current operations.
The Central Valley of California is a temperate, 450 mile stretch of well irrigated, nutrient rich soil (Norton, n.d.). The 350 different crops grown there generate a quarter of the produce consumed in the United States (Perez 2019). This massive agricultural operation attracts a broad array of migrant workers to the region and wage growth is undermined by competition for unskilled positions. CVOC is one of many community-based organizations that emerged in the 1970s to address the needs of low-income migrant farmworkers in California (Tony Silva, pers. comm.).
During the late 1960s period of the Cold War, the United States and Soviet Union began to share concerns over rising geopolitical tensions in a world ever conscious of the potential for nuclear devastation. Such concerns led to a roughly ten-year period of “détente,” where both nations sought to ease tensions through negotiations pertaining to arms control from 1969 to 1979 (Cahn 1998, 96). Though initially détente was popularly perceived as a step toward a safer and more peaceful world, a growing number of U.S. citizens condemned the program for functioning against the social and economic welfare of the nation (Zanchetta 2013). The 1974 article “What Price Détente,” found in a Congressional Record from the Arthur P. (“Skip”) Endres Papers Collection of the Center for Migration Studies, features a strong argument that sought to reveal the economic harm of the détente in order to garner support for the modification or abandonment of this foreign policy initiative.
The Extension of Remarks is part of the Congressional Record which serves as the official transcript for the House and the Senate. The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) also offers works from the Arthur P. (“Skip”) Endres Papers Collection to serve as “primary sources of how migration and refugee law is made and how that process might be improved for future generations of immigrants” (CMS 2015, 4).
On November 15th, 1971, the Washington Observer Newsletter published an article titled Courageous Jew. Within the Center for Migration Studies of New York’s archives, various court proceedings accompany this article which documents Scheiber’s battle with the United States immigration courts. “The respondent is …last a citizen of Israel. On March 15, 1961 he was found deportable…[and] a warrant for his deportation…was issued November 19, 1964” (United States Department of Justice Board of Immigration Appeals 1970), one of those court proceedings states. Purely reading these sterile court proceedings, one is inclined to view Scheiber as an individual defiant of laws. However, Courageous Jew provides an opportunity for Scheiber to convey the context for his decades-long battle with the United States courts.