Benjamin Márquez to Publish the First Book on MALDEF

"Politics of Patronage" Book Cover
Image courtesy of University of Texas Press

Can committed professional activists, paid by granting agencies to work through the legal system, change the world? That’s the question former CLS director Benjamin Márquez asks in The Politics of Patronage: Lawyers, Philanthropy, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, to be published in July of this year by the University of Texas Press. Although MALDEF remains the flagship U.S. Latinx civil rights group 52 years after its founding in 1968, this is the first book on the organization. Drawing on previously unexamined primary sources and interviews with key players, Prof. Márquez examines the influence of liberal foundations like Ford and Carnegie on the lawyers and politicians who sought to channel the energy of the Chicano Movement into concrete, institutional reforms. An indispensable read for students of U.S. Latinx political history, this study will surely provoke discussion about relations between grassroots advocacy, philanthropic organizations, and politics in the United States since the 1960s.