All They Will Call You
Tim Z. Hernandez University of Arizona Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS3608.E768A78 2017 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
All They Will Call You is the harrowing account of “the worst airplane disaster in California’s history,” which claimed the lives of thirty-two passengers, including twenty-eight Mexican citizens—farmworkers who were being deported by the U.S. government. Outraged that media reports omitted only the names of the Mexican passengers, American folk icon Woody Guthrie penned a poem that went on to become one of the most important protest songs of the twentieth century, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).” It was an attempt to restore the dignity of the anonymous lives whose unidentified remains were buried in an unmarked mass grave in California’s Central Valley. For nearly seven decades, the song’s message would be carried on by the greatest artists of our time, including Pete Seeger, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez, yet the question posed in Guthrie’s lyrics, “Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?” would remain unanswered—until now.
Combining years of painstaking investigative research and masterful storytelling, award-winning author Tim Z. Hernandez weaves a captivating narrative from testimony, historical records, and eyewitness accounts, reconstructing the incident and the lives behind the legendary song. This singularly original account pushes narrative boundaries, while challenging perceptions of what it means to be an immigrant in America, but more importantly, it renders intimate portraits of the individual souls who, despite social status, race, or nationality, shared a common fate one frigid morning in January 1948.
For Mexican workers, the agricultural valleys of the inland Northwest are a long way from home. But there they have established communities, settlements recent enough that it feels like these newly arrived immigrant mexicanos are pioneers, still getting used to the Anglos and to each other. This book looks at the inner lives of Mexican immigrants in a northwestern U.S. boomtown, a loose collection of families from Michoacán and surrounding states living a mere 150 miles from Canada. They are more isolated than most mexicano communities closer to home, and they endure severe winters that make life more difficult still. Neighborhoods form, dissolve, and re-form. Family members who leave may stay in touch, but friends very often simply vanish, leaving only their nicknames behind. Without a market or a plaza, residents meet at weddings, christenings, and funerals—or at the food bank. Philip Garrison has spent most of his life in this region and shares in vivid prose tales of immigrant life, both contemporary and historical, revealing the dual lives of first-generation Mexican immigrants who move smoothly between the Yakima Valley and their homes in Mexico. And with a scholar’s eye he examines figures of speech that reflect mexicano feelings about immigrant life, offering glimpses of adaptation through offhand remarks, family spats, and town gossip. Written with irony but bursting with compassion, Because I Don’t Have Wings features vivid characters, telling anecdotes, and poignant reflections on life, unfolding an immigrant’s world strikingly different from the one we usually read about. Adaptation, persistence, and survival, we learn, are traits that mexicano culture values. We also learn that, over time, mexicano immigrants don’t merely adapt to the culture of el norte, they transform it.
In the continuing U.S. debate over illegal immigration, a human face has rarely been shown. The topic has been presented as a monolithic abstraction, a creation of statistics, political rhetoric, and fear. This collection of letters between undocumented immigrants in California and their families back home reveals the other side of the story. Published for the first time in paperback, Between the Lines reveals the often poignant human drama currently being played out along the U.S.-Mexico border. The letters, presented in Spanish and English, express powerful feelings of hope, uncertainty, and fear among the undocumented travelers as they arrive in the United States and seek work, social support and legal status. The letters from their families in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador return feelings of hope, love, and support. Translator/editor Siems provides a powerful and lyrical introductory essay that sets the stage for the letters that follow.
Migration between Mexico and the United States is part of a historical process of increasing North American integration. This process acquired new momentum with the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, which lowered barriers to the movement of goods, capital, services, and information. But rather than include labor in this new regime, the United States continues to resist the integration of the labor markets of the two countries. Instead of easing restrictions on Mexican labor, the United States has militarized its border and adopted restrictive new policies of immigrant disenfranchisement. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors examines the devastating impact of these immigration policies on the social and economic fabric of the Mexico and the United States, and calls for a sweeping reform of the current system. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors shows how U.S. immigration policies enacted between 1986–1996—largely for symbolic domestic political purposes—harm the interests of Mexico, the United States, and the people who migrate between them. The costs have been high. The book documents how the massive expansion of border enforcement has wasted billions of dollars and hundreds of lives, yet has not deterred increasing numbers of undocumented immigrants from heading north. The authors also show how the new policies unleashed a host of unintended consequences: a shift away from seasonal, circular migration toward permanent settlement; the creation of a black market for Mexican labor; the transformation of Mexican immigration from a regional phenomenon into a broad social movement touching every region of the country; and even the lowering of wages for legal U.S. residents. What had been a relatively open and benign labor process before 1986 was transformed into an exploitative underground system of labor coercion, one that lowered wages and working conditions of undocumented migrants, legal immigrants, and American citizens alike. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors offers specific proposals for repairing the damage. Rather than denying the reality of labor migration, the authors recommend regularizing it and working to manage it so as to promote economic development in Mexico, minimize costs and disruptions for the United States, and maximize benefits for all concerned. This book provides an essential "user's manual" for readers seeking a historical, theoretical, and substantive understanding of how U.S. policy on Mexican immigration evolved to its current dysfunctional state, as well as how it might be fixed.
Throughout its history, the nation that is now called the United States has been inextricably entwined with the nation now called Mexico. Indeed, their indigenous peoples interacted long before borders of any kind were established. Today, though, the border between the two nations is so prominent that it is front-page news in both countries. Douglas Monroy, a noted Mexican American historian, has for many years pondered the historical and cultural intertwinings of the two nations. Here, in beautifully crafted essays, he reflects on some of the many ways in which the citizens of the two countries have misunderstood each other. Putting himself— and his own quest for understanding—directly into his work, he contemplates the missions of California; the differences between “liberal” and “traditional” societies; the meanings of words like Mexican, Chicano, and Latino; and even the significance of avocados and bathing suits. In thought-provoking chapters, he considers why Native Americans didn’t embrace Catholicism, why NAFTA isn’t working the way it was supposed to, and why Mexicans and their neighbors to the north tell themselves different versions of the same historical events. In his own thoughtful way, Monroy is an explorer. Rather than trying to conquer new lands, however, his goal is to gain new insights. He wants to comprehend two cultures that are bound to each other without fully recognizing their bonds. Along with Monroy, readers will discover that borders, when we stop and really think about it, are drawn more deeply in our minds than on any maps.
Brown in the Windy City is the first history to examine the migration and settlement of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in postwar Chicago. Lilia Fernández reveals how the two populations arrived in Chicago in the midst of tremendous social and economic change and, in spite of declining industrial employment and massive urban renewal projects, managed to carve out a geographic and racial place in one of America’s great cities. Through their experiences in the city’s central neighborhoods over the course of these three decades, Fernández demonstrates how Mexicans and Puerto Ricans collectively articulated a distinct racial position in Chicago, one that was flexible and fluid, neither black nor white.
In the San Joaquin Valley Cotton Strike of 1933, frenzied cotton farmers murdered three strikers, intentionally starved at least nine infants, wounded dozens of people, and arrested more. While the story of this incident has been recounted from the perspective of both the farmers and, more recently, the Mexican workers, this is the first book to trace the origins of the Mexican workers’ activism through their common experience of migrating to the United States.
Rodolfo F. Acuña documents the history of Mexican workers and their families from seventeenth-century Chihuahua to twentieth-century California, following their patterns of migration and describing the establishment of communities in mining and agricultural regions. He shows the combined influences of racism, transborder dynamics, and events such as the industrialization of the Southwest, the Mexican Revolution, and World War I in shaping the collective experience of these people as they helped to form the economic, political, and social landscapes of the American Southwest in their interactions with agribusiness and absentee copper barons.
Acuña follows the steps of one of the murdered strikers, Pedro Subia, reconstructing the times and places in which his wave of migrants lived. By balancing the social and geographic trends in the Mexican population with the story of individual protest participants, Acuña shows how the strikes were in fact driven by choices beyond the Mexican workers’ control. Their struggle to form communities graphically retells how these workers were continuously uprooted and their organizations destroyed by capital. Corridors of Migration thus documents twentieth-century Mexican American labor activism from its earliest roots through the mines of Arizona and the Great San Joaquin Valley cotton strike.
From a founding scholar of Chicano studies and the author of fifteen books comes the culmination of three decades of dedicated research into the causes and effects of migration and labor activism. The narrative documents how Mexican workers formed communities against all odds.
In the early 1900s, Teddy Roosevelt, New Mexico governors Miguel Antonio Otero and Octaviano Larrazolo, and Arizona legislator Carl Hayden—along with the voices of less well-known American women and men—promoted very different views on what being an American meant. Their writings and speeches contributed to definitions of American national identity during a tumultuous and dynamic era. At stake in these heated debates was the very meaning of what constituted an American, the political boundaries for the United States, and the legitimacy of cultural diversity in modern America.
In Debating American Identity, Linda C. Noel examines several nation-defining events—the proposed statehood of Arizona and New Mexico, the creation of a temporary worker program during the First World War, immigration restriction in the 1920s, and the repatriation of immigrants in the early 1930s. Noel uncovers the differing ways in which Americans argued about how newcomers could fit within the nation-state, in terms of assimilation, pluralism, or marginalization, and the significance of class status, race, and culture in determining American identity.
Noel shows not only how the definition of American was contested, but also how the economic and political power of people of Mexican descent, their desire to incorporate as Americans or not, and the demand for their territory or labor by other Americans played an important part in shaping decisions about statehood and national immigration policies. Debating American Identity skillfully shows how early twentieth century debates over statehood influenced later ones concerning immigration; in doing so, it resonates with current discussions, resulting in a well-timed look at twentieth century citizenship.
When Gina was deported to Tijuana, Mexico, in 2011, she left behind her parents, siblings, and children, all of whom are U.S. citizens. Despite having once had a green card, Gina was removed from the only country she had ever known. In Deported Americans legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells Gina's story alongside those of dozens of other Dreamers, who are among the hundreds of thousands who have been deported to Mexico in recent years. Many of them had lawful status, held green cards, or served in the U.S. military. Now, they have been banished, many with no hope of lawfully returning. Having interviewed over one hundred deportees and their families, Caldwell traces deportation's long-term consequences—such as depression, drug use, and homelessness—on both sides of the border. Showing how U.S. deportation law systematically fails to protect the rights of immigrants and their families, Caldwell challenges traditional notions of what it means to be an American and recommends legislative and judicial reforms to mitigate the injustices suffered by the millions of U.S. citizens affected by deportation.
Central to contemporary debates in the United States on migration and migrant policy is the idea of citizenship, and—as apparent in the continued debate over Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070—this issue remains a focal point of contention, with a key concern being whether there should be a path to citizenship for “undocumented” migrants. In Disenchanting Citizenship, Luis F. B. Plascencia examines two interrelated issues: U.S. citizenship and the Mexican migrants’ position in the United States.
The book explores the meaning of U.S. citizenship through the experience of a unique group of Mexican migrants who were granted Temporary Status under the “legalization” provisions of the 1986 IRCA, attained Lawful Permanent Residency, and later became U.S. citizens. Plascencia integrates an extensive and multifaceted collection of interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, ethno-historical research, and public policy analysis in examining efforts that promote the acquisition of citizenship, the teaching of citizenship classes, and naturalization ceremonies. Ultimately, he unearths citizenship’s root as a Janus-faced construct that encompasses a simultaneous process of inclusion and exclusion. This notion of citizenship is mapped on to the migrant experience, arguing that the acquisition of citizenship can lead to disenchantment with the very status desired. In the end, Plascencia expands our understanding of the dynamics of U.S. citizenship as a form of membership and belonging.
In his topical new book, Ethical Borders, Bill Ong Hing asks, why do undocumented immigrants from Mexico continue to enter the United States and, what would discourage this surreptitious traffic? An expert on immigration law and policy, Hing examines the relationship between NAFTA, globalization, and undocumented migration, and he considers the policy options for controlling immigration. He develops an ethical rationale for opening up the U.S./Mexican border, as well as improving conditions in Mexico so that its citizens would have little incentive to migrate.
In Ethical Borders Hing insists that reforming NAFTA is vital to ameliorating much of the poverty that drives undocumented immigration and he points to the European Union's immigration and economic development policies as a model for North America. Hing considers the world-wide economic crisis and the social problems that attend labor migration into homogenous countries, arguing for a spectrum of changes, including stricter border enforcement and more effective barriers; a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants; or a guest worker program.
Hing also situates NAFTA and its effects in the larger, and rapidly shifting, context of globalization—particularly the recent rise of China as the world's economic giant. Showing how NAFTA’s unforeseen consequences have been detrimental to Mexico, Hing passionately argues that the United States is ethically bound to address the problems in a way that puts prosperity within the grasp of all North Americans.
Flor's Journey to Independence
Barbara Vaille and Jennifer QuinnWilliams University of Michigan Press, 2005 Library of Congress PS3622.A36F58 2005 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Flor's Journey to Independence begins as Flor and her four-year-old daughter, Betina, are unexpectedly abandoned by Flor's husband, Ricardo. Flor is suddenly faced with paying the bills and caring for Betina on her own, as she also struggles with limited English skills. Still, Flor's determination gets her through the hard times, and once she enrolls in an English class for adults and begins working, she finds that her new life brings her new friends and opportunities.
A modified version of this story is also available on our website, www.press.umich.edu/esl/stories.
The MICHIGAN Stories for Newcomers are original fiction written for adult English learners who wish to improve their reading and English skills
A day after N. first crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, he was caught and then released onto the streets of Tijuana. Undeterred, N. crawled back through a tunnel to San Diego, where he entered the United States forever. Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant is his timely and compelling memoir of building a new life in America. Authorial anonymity is required to protect this life.
Arriving in the 1990s with a 9th grade education, N. traveled to Chicago where he found access to ESL classes and GED classes. He eventually attended college and graduate school and became a professional translator.
Despite having a well-paying job, N. was isolated by a lack of official legal documentation. Travel concerns made big promotions out of reach. Vacation time was spent hiding at home, pretending that he was on a long-planned trip. The simple act of purchasing his girlfriend a beer at a Cubs baseball game caused embarrassment and shame when N. couldn't produce a valid ID. A frustrating contradiction, N. lived in a luxury high-rise condo but couldn't fully live the American dream. He did, however, find solace in the one gift America gave him–-his education.
Ultimately, N.’s is the story of the triumph of education over adversity. In Illegal he debunks the stereotype that undocumented immigrants are freeloaders without access to education or opportunity for advancement. With bravery and honesty, N. details the constraints, deceptions, and humiliations that characterize alien life "amid the shadows."
I’m Neither Here nor There explores how immigration influences the construction of family, identity, and community among Mexican Americans and migrants from Mexico. Based on long-term ethnographic research, Patricia Zavella describes how poor and working-class Mexican Americans and migrants to California’s central coast struggle for agency amid the region’s deteriorating economic conditions and the rise of racial nativism in the United States. Zavella also examines tensions within the Mexican diaspora based on differences in legal status, generation, gender, sexuality, and language. She proposes “peripheral vision” to describe the sense of displacement and instability felt by Mexican Americans and Mexicans who migrate to the United States as well as by their family members in Mexico.
Drawing on close interactions with Mexicans on both sides of the border, Zavella examines migrant journeys to and within the United States, gendered racialization, and exploitation at workplaces, and the challenges that migrants face in forming and maintaining families. As she demonstrates, the desires of migrants to express their identities publicly and to establish a sense of cultural memory are realized partly through Latin American and Chicano protest music, and Mexican and indigenous folks songs played by musicians and cultural activists.
Five hundred years ago, the army of conquest led by Hernan Cortés marched hundreds of miles across a rugged swath of land from Veracruz on the Mexican Caribbean to the capital city of the Aztecs, now Mexico City. This journey was the catalyst for profound cultural and political change in Mesoamerica. Today, many Mexicans view the Ruta de Cortés as a symbol of an event that forever changed the course of their history. But few U.S. Americans understand how the conquest still affects Mexicans’ national identity and their relationship with the United States.
Following the route of Hernán Cortés, In the Shadow of Cortés offers a visual and cultural history of the legacy of contact between Spaniards and indigenous civilizations. The book is a reflective journey that presents a diversity of voices, images, and ideas about history and conquest. Specialist in Mexican culture Kathleen Ann Myers teams up with prize-winning translators and photographers to offer a unique reading experience that combines accessible interpretative essays with beautifully translated interviews and dozens of historical and contemporary black-and-white and color images, including some by award-winner Steven Raymer. The result offers readers multiple perspectives on these pivotal events as imagined and re-envisioned today by Mexicans both in their homeland and in the United States.
In the Shadow of Cortés offers an extensive visual narrative about conquest and, ultimately, about Mexican history. It traces the symbolic geography of the conquest and shows how the historical memory of colonialism continues to shape lives today.
From 1910 to 1920, Texan vigilantes and law enforcement killed ethnic Mexican residents with impunity. Monica Muñoz Martinez turns to the keepers of this history to create a record of what occurred and how a determined community ensured that victims were not forgotten. Remembering and retelling, she shows, can inscribe justice on a legacy of pain.
Many immigrant communities along the U.S. border with Mexico are colonias, border settlements lacking infrastructure or safe housing. A Jumble of Needs examines the leadership of Mexican women immigrants in three colonias in New Mexico, documenting the role of NGOs in shaping women’s activism in these communities. Ethnographer Rebecca Dolhinow, who worked in the colonias, uncovers why such attempts to exercise political agency are so rarely successful.
Central to the relationship between NGOs and women activists in colonias, Dolhinow argues, is the looming presence of the neoliberal political project. In particular, the discourses of caretaking that NGOs use to recruit women into leadership positions simultaneously naturalize and depoliticize the activist work that these women do in their communities. Dolhinow discovers the connections between colonias as isolated communities and colonia leaders as political subjects who unintentionally reinforce neoliberal policy. In the long run, she finds, any politicization that might take place is limited to the women leaders and seldom involves the community as a whole.
Surprisingly, Dolhinow reveals, many NGOs promote neoliberal ideals, resulting in continued disenfranchisement, despite the women’s activism to better their lives, families, and communities.
Rapid change in the land and labor system in rural Mexico during the 1890s destroyed the ancestral homes of the peasantry, forcing them either onto privately owned haciendas or into the migratory labor stream. The anarchy, inflation, and fear for personal safety that resulted from the Mexican Revolution of the 1910 provided a further impetus to migratory patterns that otherwise might not have emerged, considering the people's strong ties to their ancestral land.
During the same era, capitalist modernization in the United States was creating a strong demand for low-paid, unskilled labor, especially for agricultural and railroad work. Mexico's newly created class of migrant workers rushed across the border to fill this demand, setting in motion a social, economic, and political phenomenon that Lawrence Cardoso analyzed here in detail. What set this study apart, however, is the author's focus on the ' Human element," as revealed through the Mexican workers' hopes, fears, and reactions to events of their time.
Few realize that long before the political activism of the 1960s, there existed a broad social movement in the United States spearheaded by a generation of Mexican immigrants inspired by the revolution in their homeland. Many revolutionaries eschewed U.S. citizenship and have thus far been lost to history, though they have much to teach us about the increasingly international world of today. John H. Flores follows this revolutionary generation of Mexican immigrants and the transnational movements they created in the United States. Through a careful, detailed study of Chicagoland, the area in and around Chicago, Flores examines how competing immigrant organizations raised funds, joined labor unions and churches, engaged the Spanish-language media, and appealed in their own ways to the dignity and unity of other Mexicans. Painting portraits of liberals and radicals, who drew support from the Mexican government, and conservatives, who found a homegrown American ally in the Roman Catholic Church, Flores recovers a complex and little known political world shaped by events south of the U.S border.
Every day, 40,000 commuters cross the U.S. Mexico border at Tijuana San Diego to go to work. Untold numbers cross illegally. Since NAFTA was signed into law, the border has become a greater obstacle for people moving between countries. Transnational powers have exerted greater control over the flow of goods, services, information, and people.
Mexican Voices of the Border Region examines the flow of people, commercial traffic, and the development of relationships across this border. Through first-person narratives, Laura Velasco Ortiz and Oscar F. Contreras show that since NAFTA, Tijuana has become a dynamic and significant place for both nations in terms of jobs and residents. The authors emphasize that the border itself has different meanings whether one crosses it frequently or not at all. The interviews probe into matters of race, class, gender, ethnicity, place, violence, and political economy as well as the individual's sense of agency.
Winner, 2018 ASFS (Association for the Study of Food and Society) Book Award, Edited Volume
This collection of new essays offers groundbreaking perspectives on the ways that food and foodways serve as an element of decolonization in Mexican-origin communities.
The writers here take us from multigenerational acequia farmers, who trace their ancestry to Indigenous families in place well before the Oñate Entrada of 1598, to tomorrow’s transborder travelers who will be negotiating entry into the United States. Throughout, we witness the shifting mosaic of Mexican-origin foods and foodways in the fields, gardens, and kitchen tables from Chiapas to Alaska.
Global food systems are also considered from a critical agroecological perspective, including the ways colonialism affects native biocultural diversity, ecosystem resilience, and equality across species, human groups, and generations.
Mexican-Origin Foods, Foodways, and Social Movements is a major contribution to the understanding of the ways that Mexican-origin peoples have resisted and transformed food systems. It will animate scholarship on global food studies for years to come.
Unlike most of their immigrant counterparts, up until the turn of the twentieth century most Mexicans and Mexican Americans did not settle permanently in Michigan but were seasonal laborers, returning to homes in the southwestern United States or Mexico in the winter. Nevertheless, during the past century the number of Mexicans and Mexican Americans settling in Michigan has increased dramatically, and today Michigan is undergoing its third “great wave” of Mexican immigration. Though many Mexican and Mexican American immigrants still come to Michigan seeking work on farms, many others now come seeking work in manufacturing and construction, college educations, opportunities to start businesses, and to join family members already established in the state. In Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Michigan, Rudolph Valier Alvarado and Sonya Yvette Alvarado examine the settlement trends and growth of this population, as well as the cultural and social impact that the state and these immigrants have had on one another. The story of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Michigan is one of a steadily increasing presence and influence that well illustrates how peoples and places combine to create traditions and institutions.
Numbering over a third of California's population and thirteen percent of the U.S. population, people of Mexican ancestry represent a hugely complex group with a long history in the country. Contributors explore a broad range of issues regarding California's ethnic Mexican population, including their concentration among the working poor and as day laborers; their participation in various sectors of the educational system; social problems such as domestic violence; their contributions to the arts, especially music; media stereotyping; and political alliances and alignments.
Contributors are Brenda D. Arellano, Leo R. Chavez, Yvette G. Flores, Ramón A. Gutiérrez, Aída Hurtado, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Chon A. Noriega, Manuel Pastor Jr., Armida Ornelas, Russell W. Rumberger, Daniel Solórzano, Enriqueta Valdez Curiel, and Abel Valenzuela Jr.
America has always been a composite of racially blended peoples, never a purely white Anglo-Protestant nation. The Mexican American historian Neil Foley offers a sweeping view of the evolution of Mexican America, from a colonial outpost on Mexico’s northern frontier to a twenty-first-century people integral to the nation they have helped build.
Early in this century, a few Mexican migrants began streaming northward into the Midwest, but by 1914--in response to the war in Europe and a booming U.S. economy--the stream had become a flood. Barely a generation later, this so-called Immigrant Generation of Mexicans was displaced and returned to the U.S. Southwest or to Mexico. Drawing on both published works and archival materials, this new study considers the many factors that affected the process of immigration as well as the development of communities in the region. These include the internal forces of religion, ethnic identity, and a sense of nationalism, as well as external influences such as economic factors, discrimination, and the vagaries of U.S.-Mexico relations. Here is a book that persuasively challenges many prevailing assumptions about Mexican people and the communities they established in the Midwest. The author notes the commonalities and differences between Mexicans in that region and their compadres who settled elsewhere. He further demonstrates that although Mexicans in the Midwest maintained a strong sense of cultural identity, they were quick to adopt the consumer culture and other elements of U.S. life that met their needs. Focusing on a people, place, and time rarely covered before now, this wide-ranging work will be welcomed by scholars and students of history, sociology, and Chicano studies. General readers interested in ethnic issues and the multicultural fabric of American society will find here a window to the past as well as new perspectives for understanding the present and the future.
Mexicans in Wisconsin
Sergio González Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2017 Library of Congress F395.M5 | Dewey Decimal 305.868720775
From agricultural and factory workers to renowned writers and musicians, the Mexican immigrants who have made their homes in Wisconsin over the past century have become a significant and diverse part of this state’s cultural and economic history. Coming from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, the earliest Mexican immigrants traveled north in search of better economic opportunities and relief from the violence and economic turmoil of the Mexican Revolution. They found work in tanneries and foundries, and on beet farms where they replaced earlier European immigrant workers who had moved on to family farms. As Mexican immigration has grown to the present day, these families have become integral members of Wisconsin communities, building businesses, support systems, and religious institutions. But their experience has also been riddled with challenges, as they have fought for adequate working conditions, access to education, and acceptance amid widespread prejudice. In this concise history, learn the fascinating stories of this vibrant and resilient immigrant population: from the Tejano migrant workers who traveled north seasonally to work in the state’s cucumber fields, to the determined labor movement led by Jesus Salas, to the young activists of the Chicano Movement, and beyond.
Mexican immigration to the United States—the oldest and largest immigration movement to this country—is in the midst of a fundamental transformation. For decades, Mexican immigration was primarily a border phenomenon, confined to Southwestern states. But legal changes in the mid-1980s paved the way for Mexican migrants to settle in parts of America that had no previous exposure to people of Mexican heritage. In New Destinations, editors Víctor Zúñiga and Rubén Hernández-León bring together an inter-disciplinary team of scholars to examine demographic, social, cultural, and political changes in areas where the incorporation of Mexican migrants has deeply changed the preexisting ethnic landscape. New Destinations looks at several of the communities where Mexican migrants are beginning to settle, and documents how the latest arrivals are reshaping—and being reshaped by—these new areas of settlement. Contributors Jorge Durand, Douglas Massey, and Chiara Capoferro use census data to diagram the historical evolution of Mexican immigration to the United States, noting the demographic, economic, and legal factors that led recent immigrants to move to areas where few of their predecessors had settled. Looking at two towns in Southern Louisiana, contributors Katharine Donato, Melissa Stainback, and Carl Bankston III reach a surprising conclusion: that documented immigrant workers did a poorer job of integrating into the local culture than their undocumented peers. They attribute this counterintuitive finding to documentation policies, which helped intensify employer control over migrants and undercut the formation of a stable migrant community among documented workers. Brian Rich and Marta Miranda detail an ambivalent mixture of paternalism and xenophobia by local residents toward migrants in Lexington, Kentucky. The new arrivals were welcomed for their strong work ethic so long as they stayed in "invisible" spheres such as fieldwork, but were resented once they began to take part in more public activities like schools or town meetings. New Destinations also provides some hopeful examples of progress in community relations. Several chapters, including Mark Grey and Anne Woodrick's examination of a small Iowa town, point to the importance of dialogue and mediation in establishing amicable relations between ethnic groups in newly multi-cultural settings. New Destinations is the first scholarly assessment of Mexican migrants' experience in the Midwest, Northeast, and deep South—the latest settlement points for America's largest immigrant group. Enriched by perspectives from demographers, anthropologists, sociologists, folklorists, and political scientists, this volume is an essential starting point for scholarship on the new Mexican migration.
Just looking at the Pacific Northwest’s many verdant forests and fields, it may be hard to imagine the intense work it took to transform the region into the agricultural powerhouse it is today. Much of this labor was provided by Mexican guest workers, Tejano migrants, and undocumented immigrants, who converged on the region beginning in the mid-1940s. Of Forests and Fields tells the story of these workers, who toiled in the fields, canneries, packing sheds, and forests, turning the Pacific Northwest into one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country.
Employing an innovative approach that traces the intersections between Chicana/o labor and environmental history, Mario Sifuentez shows how ethnic Mexican workers responded to white communities that only welcomed them when they were economically useful, then quickly shunned them. He vividly renders the feelings of isolation and desperation that led to the formation of ethnic Mexican labor organizations like the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos Noroeste (PCUN) farm workers union, which fought back against discrimination and exploitation. Of Forests and Fields not only extends the scope of Mexican labor history beyond the Southwest, it offers valuable historical precedents for understanding the struggles of immigrant and migrant laborers in our own era.
Sifuentez supplements his extensive archival research with a unique set of first-hand interviews, offering new perspectives on events covered in the printed historical record. A descendent of ethnic Mexican immigrant laborers in Oregon, Sifuentez also poignantly demonstrates the links between the personal and political, as his research leads him to amazing discoveries about his own family history...
“If you want to know who you are and where you come from, follow the maíz.” That was the advice given to author Roberto Cintli Rodriguez when he was investigating the origins and migrations of Mexican peoples in the Four Corners region of the United States.
Follow it he did, and his book Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother changes the way we look at Mexican Americans. Not so much peoples created as a result of war or invasion, they are people of the corn, connected through a seven-thousand-year old maíz culture to other Indigenous inhabitants of the continent. Using corn as the framework for discussing broader issues of knowledge production and history of belonging, the author looks at how corn was included in codices and Mayan texts, how it was discussed by elders, and how it is represented in theater and stories as a way of illustrating that Mexicans and Mexican Americans share a common culture.
Rodriguez brings together scholarly and traditional (elder) knowledge about the long history of maíz/corn cultivation and culture, its roots in Mesoamerica, and its living relationship to Indigenous peoples throughout the continent, including Mexicans and Central Americans now living in the United States. The author argues that, given the restrictive immigration policies and popular resentment toward migrants, a continued connection to maíz culture challenges the social exclusion and discrimination that frames migrants as outsiders and gives them a sense of belonging not encapsulated in the idea of citizenship. The “hidden transcripts” of corn in everyday culture—art, song, stories, dance, and cuisine (maíz-based foods like the tortilla)—have nurtured, even across centuries of colonialism, the living maíz culture of ancient knowledge.
With Pathways of Desire, Héctor Carrillo brings us into the lives of Mexican gay men who have left their home country to pursue greater sexual autonomy and sexual freedom in the United States. The groundbreaking ethnographic study brings our attention to the full arc of these men’s migration experiences, from their upbringing in Mexican cities and towns, to their cross-border journeys, to their incorporation into urban gay communities in American cities, and their sexual and romantic relationships with American men. These men’s diverse and fascinating stories demonstrate the intertwining of sexual, economic, and familial motivations for migration.
Further, Carrillo shows that sexual globalization must be regarded as a bidirectional, albeit uneven, process of exchange between countries in the global north and the global south. With this approach, Carrillo challenges the view that gay men from countries like Mexico would logically want to migrate to a “more sexually enlightened” country like the United States—a partial and limited understanding, given the dynamic character of sexuality in countries such as Mexico, which are becoming more accepting of sexual diversity. Pathways of Desire also provides a helpful analytical framework for the simultaneous consideration of structural and cultural factors in social scientific studies of sexuality. Carrillo explains the patterns of cross-cultural interaction that sexual migration generates and—at the most practical level—shows how the intricacies of cross-cultural sexual and romantic relations may affect the sexual health and HIV risk of transnational immigrant populations.
Philip Garrison keeps his eyes and ears open. And he also keeps an open mind. It helps that he’s bilingual, because a lot of his neighbors these days speak Spanish and he likes to know what’s on their minds. Like his epileptic friend Pera, who asks him to write a note in English to explain to her supervisor that she probably shouldn’t be cooking on a grill in case she has a seizure and falls into the flames. When Garrison asks her if she has a work permit, she replies,“Bueno. El que nunca vence.” The kind that never expires. That’s the sort of response he doesn’t forget.
There is a river, Garrison writes, that runs from Oaxaca to British Columbia. El flujo migratorio, he calls it. The migratory flow. But it isn’t a conventional sort of river. “It is made of neither rock nor water nor wind but only of motion, of momentum. And yet . . . it is the most compelling feature in the entire U.S. West,” he claims. Garrison has his feet planted firmly in the middle of this river of humanity, wondering why America is trying to build a wall along an actual river, the Rio Grande, to keep us separated from the mexicanos. All borders, he writes, exist mostly in the imagination—a point he proves decisively in this delightful book.
Garrison is an award-winning writer and this book shows why. Warm, witty, self-deprecating, and charming (the list could go on), this collection illuminates the lives of these migrants, whether at the local food bank in Ellensburg, Washington, in the streets of Michoacán, or everywhere in between.
Josefina Niggli (1910–1983) was one of the most successful Mexican American writers of the early twentieth century. Born of European parents and raised in Mexico, she spent most of her adult life in the United States, and in her plays and novels she aimed to portray authentic Mexican experiences for English-speaking audiences. Niggli crossed borders, cultures, and genres, and her life and work prompt interesting questions about race, class, gender, modernity, ethnic and national identity, and the formation of literary canons.
Although Niggli is perhaps best known for her fiction and folk plays, this anthology recovers her historical dramas, most of which have been long out of print or were never published. These plays are deeply concerned with the aftermath of the 1910 Mexican Revolution, imagining its implications for Mexico, Mexican Americans, and U.S.-Mexico relations. Included are Mexican Silhouettes (1928), Singing Valley (1936), The Cry of Dolores (1936), The Fair God (1936), Soldadera (1938), This is Villa! (1939), and The Ring of General Macias (1943). These works reflect on the making of history and often portray the Revolution through the lens of women’s experiences.
Also included in this volume are an extensive critical introduction to Niggli, a chronology of her life and writings, plus letters and reviews by, to, and about Josefina Niggli. that provide illuminating context for the plays.
Best Books for Special Interests, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Association
“The Best of the Best of the University Presses: Books You Should Know About” presented at the 2008 American Library Association Annual Conference
Angel was born in Arizona and is part of the in-crowd. She likes clubbing, dancing, and going to car shows. Betzayra is from Mexico City and, despite polio-related disabilities, is the confident group leader of the Mexican girls. Arturo is also from Mexico City; he dresses more fashionably than most other boys and is taunted by the Chicanos. Evelyn was born in Arizona, but her mother was from Mexico and she hangs out with Mexican kids because she thinks they’re nicer than Chicanos. How these and some two dozen other young Latinas and Latinos interact forms the basis of a penetrating new study of identity formation among Mexican-origin border youths, taking readers directly into their world to reveal the labyrinth they navigate to shape their identities.
For Latina/o adolescents who already find life challenging, the borderland is a place that presents continual affirmations of and contradictions about identity—questions of who is more Mexican than American or vice versa. This book analyzes the construction of Mexicana/o and Chicana/o identities through a four-year ethnographic study in a representative American high school. It reveals how identity politics impacts young people’s forms of communication and the cultural spaces they occupy in the school setting. By showing how identities are created and directly influenced by the complexities of geopolitics and sociocultural influences, it stresses the largely unexplored divisions among youths whose identities are located along a wide continuum of “Mexicanness.”
Through in-depth interviews and focus groups with both Mexicana/o and Chicana/o students, Cynthia Bejarano explores such topics as the creation of distinct styles that reinforce differences between the two groups; the use of language to further distinguish themselves from one another; and social stratification perpetuated by internal colonialism and the “Othering” process. These and other issues are shown to complicate how Latinas/os ethnically identify as Mexicanas/os or Chicanas/os and help explain how they get to this point.
In contrast to research that views identity as a reflection of immigration or educational experiences, this study embraces border theory to frame the complex and conflicted relations of adolescents as a result of their identity-making processes. This intimate glimpse into their lives provides valuable information about the diversity among youths and their constant efforts to create, define, and shape their identities according to cultural and social structures.
Immigrants in the United States send more than $20 billion every year back to Mexico—one of the largest flows of such remittances in the world. With The Remittance Landscape, Sarah Lynn Lopez offers the first extended look at what is done with that money, and in particular how the building boom that it has generated has changed Mexican towns and villages.
Lopez not only identifies a clear correspondence between the flow of remittances and the recent building boom in rural Mexico but also proposes that this construction boom itself motivates migration and changes social and cultural life for migrants and their families. At the same time, migrants are changing the landscapes of cities in the United States: for example, Chicago and Los Angeles are home to buildings explicitly created as headquarters for Mexican workers from several Mexican states such as Jalisco, Michoacán, and Zacatecas. Through careful ethnographic and architectural analysis, and fieldwork on both sides of the border, Lopez brings migrant hometowns to life and positions them within the larger debates about immigration.
Discouraged by widespread unemployment and alarmed by anti-Mexican sentiment, nearly five hundred thousand Mexican Americans returned to Mexico between 1929 and 1939. Historian Abraham Hoffman captures the despair of these thousands of people of Mexican descent—including those with U.S. citizenship—who were actively coerced into leaving the country.
Prior to 1931, many Mexican Americans left the United States voluntarily, prompted by homesickness, unemployment, and the Mexican government’s offer of free small land parcels. As the Great Depression deepened, repatriation pressures increased. Anglo groups lobbied for laws that excluded aliens from jobs and welfare benefits. Many businessmen, government officials, and social workers believed that removing Mexican Americans would open up jobs for U.S. citizens and alleviate some of the burden placed on relief agencies.
The Department of Labor’s federal deportation drive, launched in 1931, created an atmosphere of fear and tension in Mexican American communities. Immigration agents conducted surprise searches for people who had entered the country illegally, and Mexicans who had crossed the border before restrictive legislation was passed became prime targets of the deportation campaign.
Welfare agencies throughout the United States organized repatriation programs. The Los Angeles County Welfare Bureau, with the most extensive program, was responsible for the removal of more than thirteen thousand Mexican Americans. A few well-publicized deportations had frightened Mexicans who were unsure of their immigration status. Many chose repatriation over possible deportation.
Using much archival material and many previously unpublished government documents, Hoffman focuses on the repatriation experience in Los Angeles. The city’s large Mexican American population provides an excellent case study of the entire movement. He also surveys the process of Mexican repatriation throughout the entire United States.
Sex can be an oppressive force, a tool to shame, divide, and control a population. But it can also be a force for change, for the legal and physical challenge of inequity and injustice. In West of Sex, Pablo Mitchell uses court transcripts and criminal cases to provide the first coherent picture of Mexican-American sexuality at the turn of the twentieth century, and a truly revelatory look at sexual identity in the borderlands.
As Mexicans faced a rising tide of racial intolerance in the American West, some found cracks in the legal system that enabled them to assert their rights as full citizens, despite institutional hostility. In these chapters, Mitchell offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of ethnicity and power in the United States, placing ordinary Mexican women and men at the center of the story of American sex, colonialism, and belonging.
Other chapters discuss topics like prostitution, same-sex intimacy, sexual violence, interracial romance, and marriage with an impressive level of detail and complexity. Written in vivid and accessible prose, West of Sex offers readers a new vision of sex and race in American history.
Philip Garrison says his book of essays is “in praise of mixed feelings,” particularly the mixed feelings he and his neighbors have toward the places they came from. His neighborhood is the Columbia Plateau, one of many North American nodes of immigration. Following a meandering, though purposeful trail, Garrison catches hillbillies and newer Mexican arrivals in ambiguous, wary encounters on a set four hundred years in the making, built on a foundation of Native American displacement. Garrison is the product of the earlier surge of new arrivals: from the 1930s to the 1970s, those he calls hillbillies left such mid-nation states as Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and the Dakotas for the West. The more recent wave, from 1990 to 2010, came mostly from the central plateau of Mexico. These are folks with whom Garrison communes in multiple ways. Anecdotes from sources as varied as pioneer diaries, railroad promotions, family Bibles, Wikipedia, and local gossip “portray the region's immigration as a kind of identity makeover, one that takes the form first of breakdown, then of reassembly, and finally of renewal.” Garrison’s mix of slangy memoir and anthropological field notes shines light on the human condition in today’s West.
Women’s migration within Mexico and from Mexico to the United States is increasing; nearly as many women as men are migrating. This development gives rise to new social negotiations, which have not been well examined in migration studies until now. This pathbreaking reader analyzes how economically and politically displaced migrant women assert agency in everyday life. Scholars across diverse disciplines interrogate the socioeconomic forces that propel Mexican women into the migrant stream and shape their employment options; the changes that these women are making in homes, families, and communities; and the “structural violence” that they confront in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands broadly conceived—all within the economic, social, cultural, and political interstices of the two countries.
This reader includes twenty-three essays—two of which are translated from the Spanish—that illuminate women’s engagement with diverse social and cultural challenges. One contributor critiques the statistical fallacy of nativist discourses within the United States that portray Chicana and Mexican women’s fertility rates as “out of control.” Other contributors explore the relation between sexual violence and women’s migration from rural areas to urban centers within Mexico, the ways that undocumented migrant communities challenge conventional notions of citizenship, and young Latinas’ commemorations of the late, internationally renowned singer Selena. Several essays address workplace intimidation and violence, harassment and rape by U.S. border patrol agents and maquiladora managers, sexual violence, and the brutal murders of nearly two hundred young women near Ciudad Juárez. This rich collection highlights both the structural inequities faced by Mexican women in the borderlands and the creative ways they have responded to them.
Contributors. Ernestine Avila, Xóchitl Castañeda, Sylvia Chant, Leo R. Chavez, Cynthia Cranford, Adelaida R. Del Castillo, Sylvanna M. Falcón, Gloria González-López, Maria de la Luz Ibarra, Jonathan Xavier Inda, Rosa Linda Fregoso, Jennifer S. Hirsch, Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, Eithne Luibheid, Victoria Malkin, Faranak Miraftab, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Norma Ojeda de la Peña, Deborah Paredez, Leslie Salzinger, Felicity Schaeffer-Grabiel, Denise A. Segura, Laura Velasco Ortiz, Melissa W. Wright, Patricia Zavella
Women Who Stay Behind examines the social, educational, and cultural resources rural Mexican women employ to creatively survive the conditions created by the migration of loved ones. Using narrative, research, and theory, Ruth Trinidad Galván presents a hopeful picture of what is traditionally viewed as the abject circumstances of poor and working-class people in Mexico who are forced to migrate to survive.
The book studies women’s and families’ use of cultural knowledge, community activism, and teaching and learning spaces. Throughout, Trinidad Galván provides answers to these questions: How does the migration of loved ones alter community, familial, and gender dynamics? And what social relations (convivencia), cultural knowledge, and women-centered pedagogies sustain women’s survival (supervivencia)?
Researchers, educators, and students interested in migration studies, gender studies, education, Latin American studies, and Mexican American studies will benefit from the ethnographic approach and theoretical insight of this groundbreaking work.
While Chicago has the second-largest Mexican population among U.S. cities, relatively little ethnographic attention has focused on its Mexican community. This much-needed ethnography of Mexicans living and working in Chicago examines processes of racialization, labor subordination, and class formation; the politics of nativism; and the structures of citizenship and immigration law. Nicholas De Genova develops a theory of “Mexican Chicago” as a transnational social and geographic space that joins Chicago to innumerable communities throughout Mexico. “Mexican Chicago” is a powerful analytical tool, a challenge to the way that social scientists have thought about immigration and pluralism in the United States, and the basis for a wide-ranging critique of U.S. notions of race, national identity, and citizenship.
De Genova worked for two and a half years as a teacher of English in ten industrial workplaces (primarily metal-fabricating factories) throughout Chicago and its suburbs. In Working the Boundaries he draws on fieldwork conducted in these factories, in community centers, and in the homes and neighborhoods of Mexican migrants. He describes how the meaning of “Mexican” is refigured and racialized in relation to a U.S. social order dominated by a black-white binary. Delving into immigration law, he contends that immigration policies have worked over time to produce Mexicans as the U.S. nation-state’s iconic “illegal aliens.” He explains how the constant threat of deportation is used to keep Mexican workers in line. Working the Boundaries is a major contribution to theories of race and transnationalism and a scathing indictment of U.S. labor and citizenship policies.