A dramatic response to American racism occurred in Los Angeles during 1855 when eighteen-year-old Francisco P. Ramírez published a Spanish-language newspaper, El Clamor Público. Ramírez called upon a Mexican American majority to seize control of their destiny by electing themselves to public office. Ramírez was a radical liberal in a town controlled by white conservative Southerners with antebellum values. Nevertheless, from 1855 to 1859, he railed against slavery and ridiculed those in Los Angeles who supported it. His demands for Mexican equality, the abolition of slavery, free elections, and education for women were well ahead of his time. He was the first civil rights activist in Los Angeles. In December 1859 El Clamor Público bankrupted for lack of popular support. For three decades afterward Ramírez was involved in every major political and social movement of his day. He continued to champion equality and civil rights as a San Francisco newspaper editor and the only Mexican American lawyer in Los Angeles. Ramírez’s dramatic entry into public life to his previously veiled years of exile, Gray’s illuminating biography speaks volumes about the history of ethnic conflict, politics, and violence in Southern California. From Ramírez's dramatic entry into public life to his previously veiled years of exile, Gray’s illuminating biography speaks volumes about the history of ethnic conflict, politics, and violence in Southern California.