Paul Ortiz

paul ortiz


B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1990
Ph.D., Duke University, 2000


Samuel Proctor Oral History Program


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Biographical Note

Paul Ortiz is associate professor in history and director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. He was a founding faculty member of the Social Documentation Graduate Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-founder of the Labor Studies Center at UC-Santa Cruz. Paul is the author of Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 (University of California Press) and co-author of Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Jim Crow South (New Press) He is the recipient of the Lillian Smith and Harry T. and Harriet V. Moore book awards, respectively. His essay, “On the Shoulders of Giants: Senator Obama and the Future of American Politics,” was published by in 2008. His essay, “¡Si, Se Puede! Revisited: Latino/a Workers in the United States,” was published in the book Social Work Practice with Latinos (Lyceum Press).  After graduating from Evergreen in 1990, Paul worked as a community organizer with the United Farm Workers of Washington State and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee in North Carolina. Paul was a founding advisory committee member for the 1st Annual Cesar Chavez Celebration in Watsonville, California. He is currently the faculty adviser of the UF chapter of the Student Farm Worker Alliance. Paul is currently working on a book for Beacon Press’s Re Visioning American history series on the histories of African Americans and Latinos in the US as well as a synthesis of the Jim Crow South with his former dissertation advisor, William H. Chafe. At Evergreen, Paul studied with Stephanie Coontz, Tom Grissom and Beryl Crowe.

paul ortiz's book

Publication Types

Non-Fiction, Scholastic, Journalism

Latest Publication Title

"Arizona's New Laws: An Attempt to Secure Cheap Labor?" Truthout, 6/2010

Additional Publications

Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920, University of California Press, 2005
“Revising Florida, Revising Civil Rights History,” in Old South, New South, or Down South? Florida and the Contemporary Civil Rights Movement, West Virginia University Press, 2009
“U.S. Race Riots, 1917-1923,” The Encyclopedia of Race and Racism,The Gale Group, Inc./Macmillan Reference USA, 2007
“Remembering Racial Terror: The Behind the Veil Project,” Radical History Review, vol. 97, Special Issue: Truth Commissions: State Terror, History, and Memory , Winter 2007
“The New Battle for New Orleans,” in Hurricane Katrina: Response and Responsibilities, Santa Cruz: The New Pacific Press, 2007
"Eat Your Bread Without Butter, But Pay Your Poll Tax!: Roots of the Florida Voter Registration Movement, 1919-1920," in Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism 1850-1950, New York University Press, 2003
“Farm Worker Organizing in America: From Slavery to César Chávez and Beyond:” in The Human Cost of Food: Farmworker Lives, Labor, and Advocacy, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002
“Race and Class in Twentieth Century America,” in Beacham’s Encyclopedia of American Social Change, Beacham Press, 2001

Publication Excerpt

From "Arizona, Is This America?":

Arizona has a long record of robbing working people in order to provide a "safe and secure environment" for big business. The US conquest of northern Mexico resulted in a dual racial system with similarities to Jim Crow in the southeast. In the copper mining camps of the Grand Canyon State, there were two wage scales in the early 20th century: a "white wage" and a "Mexican wage." In Arizona mines, the top wage for Mexicans was $2.50 per day; $4.00 for "Anglos." Ninety-seven percent of the mine foremen in the copper mine camps were white. Pervasive wage differentials in the southwest gave white workers an incentive to maintain a separate-and-unequal economic system and served as the most visible wedge in the working class. One official exulted, "Mexicans came cheap by the dozen and could be bought for ten cents each." Many Mexican-American miners became union activists in an effort to abolish this system. Armed vigilantes seized and deported 1,300 striking miners in Bisbee, Arizona, in 1917. Many of the workers were members of the Industrial Workers of the World, who envisioned a world without capitalism. Arizona also gave us the anti-labor crusader Barry Goldwater. Elected to the US Senate in 1953, Goldwater sought to extinguish the New Deal. He was an ardent foe of unions and warred against social welfare programs. After initially supporting civil rights, Goldwater embraced the GOP's "Southern Strategy" of wooing white voters away from the Democratic Party by using coded racial appeals to white masculinity. On the advice of a Republican lawyer by the name of William Rehnquist, Senator Goldwater voted against the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. During Goldwater's first term, the federal government initiated "Operation Wetback" in Arizona and other southwestern states. Reprising the brutal racial repatriations of the 1930s, Federal agents seized and forcibly deported tens of thousands of Mexican-Americans from the state using what one critic calls a "mass deportation on the Soviet model." Many workers who were repatriated to Mexico were owed back wages by their employers. White leaders have pined for a new Operation Wetback for years. SB 1070 is their new Bill of Rights.

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

I learned critical research and analytical writing skills.