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CA civil liberties timeline: 1790 to 1870CA civil liberties timeline: 1871 to 1910CA civil liberties timeline: 1911 to 1950CA civil liberties timeline: 1951 to 1990CA civil liberties timeline: 1991 to present
Bronze Medal Book of the Year Award Winner

Welcome to the website for Wherever There’s a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California by Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi 

The first-ever account of the struggle to develop and protect rights in the Golden State, Wherever There's a Fight captures the sweeping story of how freedom and equality have grown in California, from the gold rush right up to the precarious post-9/11 era. The book tells the stories of the brave individuals who have stood up for their rights in the face of social hostility, physical violence, economic hardship, and political stonewalling.

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What others had to say about the book


"As struggles and backlashes continue, the authors suggest 'even in these times - or especially in these times - it is vital to remember the lessons of history, from eras when California faced fearsome obstacles.' To that end, their own book should itself become required reading in our state's underfunded and largely segregated schools.” Read full review »

San Francisco Chronicle
December 18, 2009

"Elinson (coauthor of The Development Debacle) and Yogi (co-editor of Highway 99) offer crucial perspective on the history of minority rights in a state long considered a political trendsetter....Readers will find this an essential reference in navigating the slogan-riddled civil rights issues of the day."

Publishers Weekly (starred review),
July 13, 2009

Advance Praise

"Through inspired story-telling, this comprehensive book tracks the struggles of California's many diverse peoples for full humanity. Wherever There's a Fight is not only a definitive reference book, it's an engaging must-read for anyone who cares about the people's history that shaped civil liberties far beyond the Golden State."

Helen Zia, author of Asian American
Dreams: The Emergence of an American People

"Wherever There's a Fight is a highly readable and enormously informative overview of the long and continuing struggle to protect and extend civil liberties in California that makes clear that protection of our civil liberties demands constant vigilance by the people."

Robert L. Allen, professor of African Studies
& Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley,
and author of The Port Chicago Mutiny

"A prodigious work."

Mike Farrell, president of Death Penalty Focus
and author of Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor
and Activist and Of Mule and Man

"Elinson and Yogi recall a history of struggle, hope, defeat and victory. This is a shared history and the real gift of this work is in deepening our understanding of how tightly our fates are bound together. An inspiring and enlightening perspective."

Kate Kendell, executive director, National
Center for Lesbian Rights

"A most significant contribution to the history and herstory of the struggle for freedom and civil liberties in the United States, Wherever There's a Fight pays tribute to women and men of all colors who have shaped the legacies that we must honor today and the continuing struggle for an authentic multiracial democracy."

Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr., scholar, activist, and
award-winning author of Youth, Identity,
Power: The Chicano Movement