The border between the United States and Mexico serves as the landscape for Gerald Horne’s study of race relations in the early twentieth century. The prolific author argues that during the tumultuous years between 1910 and 1920, which witnessed both the First World War and the Mexican Revolution, heightened needs for “national security” in the United States exposed social contradictions inherent in the predominant racial hierarchy. In particular, as the U.S. government sent greater quantities of military resources and personnel overseas and refused to entrust or empower soldiers of Latin American descent to patrol the border, it increasingly relied on African American men to protect its southwestern states against rebellious Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans. Empowering black men and dealing with Mexican insurgency provoked a “general crisis of white supremacy” along the border (p. 9).

South of the border had been a refuge for many...

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