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date: 23 September 2017

Latinas/os in the Southern United States

Summary and Keywords

Latinas/os were present in the American South long before the founding of the United States of America, yet knowledge about their southern communities in different places and time periods is deeply uneven. In fact, regional themes important throughout the South clarify the dynamics that shaped Latinas/os’ lives, especially race, ethnicity, and the colorline; work and labor; and migration and immigration. Ideas about racial difference, in particular, reflected specifics of place, and intersections of local, regional, and international endeavors and movements of people and resources. Accordingly, Latinas/os’ position and treatment varied across the South. They first worked in agricultural fields picking cotton, oranges, and harvesting tobacco, then in a variety of industries, especially poultry and swine processing and packing. The late 20th century saw the rapid growth of Latinas/os in southern states due to changing migration and immigration patterns that moved from traditional states of reception to new destinations in rural, suburban, and urban locales with limited histories with Latinas/os or with substantial numbers of immigrants in general.

Keywords: Latinos, Hispanics, immigration, migration, labor, colorline, economy, South, region, place

The history of Latinas/os in the South—that is, the states of the old Confederacy, including South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee—differed from place to place, even within one state, due to labor, political, social, and economic issues. For example, Latinas/os have a much longer history in Florida and Texas than in other southern states. In turn, Florida and Texas have differed from each other given their respective relationships with both the United States and Latin America. Latinas/os in Florida often trace their roots to the Caribbean, especially Cuba, and to South America, while Latinas/os in Texas are overwhelmingly Mexican Americans.

Regrettably, the history of Latinas/os in the South during the 19th and 20th centuries is only unevenly understood, both by place and by time. There is more knowledge about Latina/o communities in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, but less about earlier periods. And more is known about Latinas/os in Texas than in North Carolina, Arkansas, or Georgia. These disparities reflect the trajectories of Latina/o migrants and Latin American immigrants who, in the late 20th century, moved in substantive numbers to every southern state and from rural settings to urban neighborhoods. At the same time, extensive histories do exist of Latinas/os in some very important Southern locales and about larger structural issues that facilitated their migration and immigration, as well as how they adapted to different kinds of neighborhoods, schools, and jobs.

Appreciating Latinas/os’ presence in the 19th-century South lays a broad groundwork for understanding important issues about race, citizenship, and labor. Focusing on the American acquisition of Mexican lands and Texas history is a way to explore how these factors played out in two important places. Exploring early 20th-century Mexican immigration to Louisiana and Arkansas reveals distinct experiences of middle- and working-class immigrants. Finally, a focus on the mid- to late 20th century indicates new patterns in Latinas/os’ migration; different legal standings between immigrants, such as Cubans who were granted refugee status, and Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans who fled political instability and violence but were not granted refugee status; “push” and “pull” factors that facilitated their migration, and important differences in migrant experiences in Georgia and North Carolina counties; and migrant involvement in the South’s meat-processing industries, especially poultry.

The 19th Century

Latinas/os are native to the United States, but they gained national citizenship as an outcome of the U.S.–Mexico War. Latinas/os have been in the South since Florida and Texas were Spanish colonies. In 1819, Spain ceded Florida to the United States, and it remained a territory until 1845 when it became the twenty-seventh state. In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico and entered the Union in 1845 as the twenty-eighth state. A dispute about Texas’s boundary led to the U.S.–Mexican War that lasted less than two years but cost Mexico nearly half of its territory. The U.S. –Mexican War ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which granted Mexicans U.S. citizenship at a time when national laws dictated that only white people could be citizens. Mexican Americans were given U.S. citizenship twenty years prior to African Americans, who obtained it in 1868 with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The complex position of Latinas/os in the United States and the South hinges on ideas about race that were foundational to the nation, namely that freedom, labor, and class especially became intricately connected to race. In the United States, the category of “white” initially included only Anglo-Saxon people and excluded even Irish and Italian immigrants, as well as other Europeans. The white construct operated in opposition to racial slavery, Black people were equated with slavery and white people with freedom. This way of thinking facilitated the subordination of poor and working-class white people who accepted their lost wages and replaced them with “wages of whiteness,” or the pleasures and privileges they received from their identification as white. “That is, status and privilege conferred by race could be used to make up for alienating and exploitative class relationships in the North and South. White workers could, and did, define and accept their class positions by fashioning identities as ‘not slaves’ and as ‘not Blacks.’”1

However, the division between free and unfree people established via racial slavery became difficult to maintain after Emancipation, when individuals of various racial backgrounds began to understand that they shared experiences as workers; eventually, the category of white was expanded to include more people in order to combat a growing class consciousness. When newly freed African Americans joined European Americans and European immigrants in wage work, poor and working-class white people could no longer rely on the division between enslaved and free and began to recognize how much they shared with other workers, including African Americans. The labor market, however, was not simply a site of competition; it also placed white, Black, Latina/o, Asian, indigenous, immigrant, and native-born workers in close proximity to one another. Working shoulder to shoulder as similarly exploited laborers led them to recognize their shared class standing as working-class people who had more to gain if they organized and fought for fair pay and improved working conditions, than if they were divided and used as leverage against one another. As a response to a growing class-consciousness, the white category was expanded to incorporate previously excluded groups like Irish and Italians so that they too could reap the benefits, privileges, and wages of whiteness. This maneuver helped maintain racial divisions and prevented deeper and stronger cross-racial and cross-ethnic alliances.2

Citizenship did not protect Mexican Americans from segregation, and while some fought against it on racially progressive grounds, others argued they should not be segregated. Despite being legally recognized as U.S. citizens and therefore white, Mexican Americans were rarely accepted as either, while their mixed racial and ethnic background (European, indigenous, African, and Asian) complicated the group’s everyday life. In the segregated South, they were frequently forced to use separate facilities or send their children to segregated schools. Like African Americans, they fought for their equality and against segregation. Sometimes Latinas/os fought against by arguing that they were indeed white and should be recognized as such.3 Latinas/os who looked more European sometimes could pass as white, and some of them chose to live as white in order to skirt discrimination and second-class citizenship. That strategy, however, marginalized other Latinas/os and groups who appeared to be or were, in fact, indigenous, African, Asian, or mixed.

Although ideas about race can sometimes seem fixed, they can be reformulated to reflect place-specific notions. In Texas, the dynamics between Mexican Americans, African Americans, and whites played out in different ways across the state and reflected particular political economies of time and place. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, central Texas was a cotton-growing region where various class societies came into being and where the land-tenure system helped to define racial definitions and parameters. After the United States annexed Texas, white people’s racialized ideas about Indians, African Americans, and Mexican Americans affected public policies, especially as they were connected to land and labor.4 In this multiracial landscape, poor white sharecroppers were marked as racially inferior—as a “white scourge” or sub-par white people who degraded whiteness—while Mexican Americans were cast as a group “in-between” Black people and white people. The local setting—the demographics and the type of economic structure—helped to define how much race mattered in particular places and the ways groups were treated. The central Texas region is one where the presence of Latinas/os complicated the assumed Black and white racial binary, while ideas about white racial inferiority would arise again.

The Early 20th Century

Mexicans immigrated to Texas, sometimes joining Mexican Americans who migrated deeper into the region in search of better opportunities. In the early 20th century, some Mexican Americans and also Mexicans left Texas and moved to other southern states, such as Mississippi. Often their migration meant that they were entering places that had been largely defined through the Black/white binary but which were more removed from the acquisition of Mexican lands. Between the 1910s and the 1930s, Mexicans and Mexican Americans engaged in further circular migrations heading to Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi to mine aluminum, work in lumber, load coal, or pick cotton. These Latina/o workers would work a few months in southern destinations, return home to Texas or Mexico, and make a similar journey the following year. A few enterprising individuals stayed year round, settling permanently in the U.S. South in an effort to put down roots and improve their economic and social standing.5

As had been true in Texas, place became an important factor in determining Mexican and Mexican American social and racial positions, as well as links to the labor sphere and class standing, in the different southern states. For example, middle-class Mexicans in 1920s New Orleans proved able to achieve a racial and social standing akin to the status of Europeans and thus successfully cast themselves as white people. In contrast, poor Mexicans and Mexican American migrant workers in Mississippi and Arkansas endured segregation even as they argued that they were white. In Arkansas, Mexican workers attempted to secure their standing by appealing to the Mexican government to argue with U.S. officials on their behalf. This process was facilitated by the Bracero Program that operated between 1942 and 1964, a binational agreement between the United States and Mexico that brought guest workers or “braceros” from Mexico to work in a variety of sites throughout the United States during a labor shortage caused by World War II.6 In the mid-20th century in the Arkansas Delta, braceros and their consular representatives leveraged their position as necessary laborers. They successfully lobbied to have local officials provide Mexican workers with access to white spaces, such as movie theaters and schools.7

The Mid- to Late 20th Century

Latinas/os’ history in the U.S. South in the mid-20th century reflected a diversification of ethnic backgrounds and national origins and proved even more multifaceted and varied. Latina/o histories from the 1950s to the 1980s reflect broad international issues including the Cuban Revolution and civil wars in Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala—all of which had been influenced by U.S. foreign policies and interventions. In the late 1950s and 1960s, many wealthy upper- and middle-class Cubans fled the island as Fidel Castro gained power. However, they identified not as immigrants but as exiles, who came to the United States to wait for Castro’s eventual defeat. Many went to Miami, Florida, but others settled in Atlanta and New Orleans. As the years progressed, it seemed unlikely they would be able to return to Cuba as quickly as they had once believed. Nevertheless, their wealth served them well in the United States and they established businesses that altered the economic landscape of places like Miami.8

The case of Cuban exiles stands in contrast to the trajectories of those Latin Americans who fled violence and political turmoil but were denied “refugee” status, which included a path to citizenship. In contrast to Cubans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and Guatemalans were deemed “undocumented immigrants” and forced to deal with the immense limitations that status created. In this regard, the trajectories of Guatemalans and Salvadorans in the United States and in the U.S. South strongly mirror those of Mexican immigrants who were also cast as undocumented.

The South’s Latina/o population grew rapidly in the 1990s through a variety of “push” and “pull” circumstances. First, southern regional economic reorganization created jobs in low-skilled and low-wage industries such as meat processing (especially of poultry), manufacturing, and construction. Companies also relocated to the South in search of more favorable business climates, including lower worker wages. As a result, rural areas industrialized, and the local economic milieu became populated with companies that needed employees to fill their work sites. Second, an economic recession in the late 1980s and early 1990s hit California and other Western and Southwestern states particularly hard, causing many Latinas/os to lose their jobs and look elsewhere, including in the South, for employment opportunities.

Third, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) provided more than two million immigrants a path to legalization. It allowed undocumented immigrants who met strict criteria and passed a background check to become U.S. permanent residents. Many eventually became naturalized citizens. This change in legal status provided them with opportunities to look for better employment opportunities outside of their initial areas of settlement, such as California, Texas, and Illinois. Fourth, the social networks immigrants formed were crucial in facilitating the migration and immigration of Latinas/os to the South. Many learned about available jobs in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Georgia through informal social networks. In other instances, prospective employers sent recruiters to Texas, California, and Mexico to encourage people to resettle in the region. Upon reaching the South, migrants frequently communicated with friends and family in other areas of the United States, or in their countries of origin in Latin America, to encourage them to move to the South as well. For some Latinas/os this constituted a second or third step in a migratory journey that started in Mexico, El Salvador, or Guatemala; took them to California or Texas, traditional states of immigrant settlement; and ultimately led to them settling in the southern United States.9 After a few years, however, some immigrants bypassed traditional states of settlement and headed directly to the South to meet friends or family members who had already settled in places like Georgia, Tennessee, or North Carolina.

Together, these factors—economic decline in the West, Midwest, and East; immigrant social networks; and labor recruitment—led to the rapid growth of the Latina/o population of the U.S. South. In the 1990s, North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Alabama experienced dynamic Latina/o growth, ranging from North Carolina’s 400 percent increase to Alabama’s 200 percent increase.10 These trends continued into the early 21st century. Nine of the “10 Fastest Growing Hispanic States” in the country were in the South, namely Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland, and Georgia.11 Despite such growth, Latinas/os in these states constituted less than 9 percent of each state’s population, a number far below the 16 percent national average. By 2010, the Latina/o population in the South had increased by 57 percent, outpacing their growth in other regions, while 27 percent of all U.S. Latinas/os—13.7 million people—lived in Texas and Florida.12

As the 20th century ended, the increase in undocumented Latina/o migration in both the South and the broader United States, together with Latinas/os highly complex racial backgrounds and shifting American notions about what constitutes “race,” changed earlier Latinas/os’ experience of racialization. As an ethnic group in which individuals can be Black, Indian, Asian, white, or mixed, Latinas/os challenged the notions prevalent in locations where a Black/white colorline defined race. The confusion over their racial and ethnic backgrounds led many people to use “Mexican” as a racial category while often simultaneously homogenizing all Latinas/os in the South as “Mexican,” although many were Guatemalan, Salvadoran, or other nationalities. Latinas/os’ ethnic and racial differences also intersected with laboring identities. Many Latina/o migrants who left Texas and California for Georgia, North Carolina, or Arkansas did so to work in some of the toughest jobs in the region, even as the South’s low cost of living afforded economic stability hard to achieve in other states. At the same time, many Latin American immigrants who moved to the South entered the United States as undocumented immigrants. Consequently, many southerners, like Americans in other regions, assumed all Latinas/os were undocumented, a powerful link that served to racialize all Latinas/os as illegal immigrants and criminals and was sometimes used to marginalize community members socially, economically, and educationally.13

The local histories of two southern communities in Georgia and North Carolina offer intimate settings in order to understand later 20th-century Latinas/os experiences in the South. They reveal how issues of race, labor, and the colorline played out in different kinds of places throughout the region and how larger patterns took somewhat different visible forms in different settings.

Latinas/os in Dalton, Georgia

Dalton’s history before and after Latina/o growth reflected regional patterns, especially in the labor sphere and immigration. In the 1980s and 1990s, a number of Latinas/os moved to Dalton, Georgia, on the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the state’s northwest corner. They worked in the carpet industry, which had been the city’s economic base, but also in the area’s growing poultry-processing plants. By the end of the 1990s, the area’s carpet industry generated revenue of approximately ten billion dollars. According to the 1990 Census, the county where Dalton was located was 93 percent white and 4 percent Black, with all other races accounting for less than 3 percent of the population. The county then had more than 72,000 people, while Dalton had less than 22,000, making both relatively small places. The county’s roughly 2,300 Latinas/os represented 3 percent of the population, of whom nearly 88 percent were from Mexico. This pattern changed dramatically in the next few years. By 1997, one estimate put the county’s Latina/o community at more than 45,000, and between 1990 and 1999 the number of Latina/o children in the Dalton public schools rose from 150 to nearly 2000.14

Dalton’s Latina/o community also demonstrated the larger step-migration trend of moving to the South in the 1990s after having first lived in other parts of the United States. More than half of Dalton’s Latinas/os surveyed had moved from California, Texas, Florida, and Illinois, with twelve other states also serving as first settlement sites. Most Latinas/os, largely Mexicans, moved to the city from these places after 1992, but as the years passed, the majority of newly arrived Latinas/os came directly from Mexico. Dalton had become their primary destination and a new immigrant hub. Scholars have also argued that the Latina/o growth in Dalton is linked to IRCA legalization that allowed many immigrants to move from traditional areas of settlement to seek their fortunes elsewhere. In that model, men were largely the sojourners who ventured out of their comfort zones. After a year or so they sent for wives, children, and other relatives, who joined them in the U.S. South.15

In Dalton, Latinas/os moved to a place whose history and growth reflected some regional patterns and tensions, particularly between the economic base and the workers used as labor. Dalton had a long historical pattern of corporate paternalism. In the early 20th century, Black workers were excluded from factory jobs and European immigrants did not look for jobs in the area. Consequently, mill owners had to establish a way to draw poor white workers, which they did by offering cheap housing, higher wages, schools, and other benefits. This economic model had repercussions for the larger social arena as textile industrialists and merchants played a prominent role in the political, economic, and civic arenas. However, this paternalistic model was premised on stabilizing the workforce by minimizing the number of employees leaving to work in other industries or moving elsewhere, a model so successful that it still existed as Latinas/os moved into Dalton.16

Latinas/os worked in skilled and unskilled positions in the labor-intensive stages of carpet making as tufters, dyers, and back pullers, as well as electricians and mechanics.17 According to industry leaders, many of the Latinas/os in Dalton arrived in the mid-1990s during a labor shortage that began to change Dalton’s former paternalistic corporate labor practices. In fact, the Latinas/os’ arrival allowed the carpet industry not just to stay on course but to thrive. During the 1990s, job opportunities in the carpet industry in Georgia grew by 24 percent and increased the demand for low-skill laborers. By 2000, Latinas/os constituted more than 17 percent of the industry’s workforce, and by 2010 they were more than 25 percent.18 Latinas/os did not displace other racial or ethnic groups; instead, their presence was crucial to the growth of the carpet industry. In Dalton, they remained concentrated in labor-intensive jobs as tufters, creelers, and extruders, jobs at the bottom of the carpet industry.19 Dalton’s poultry industry witnessed a similar pattern. Even by the mid-1990s, one of Dalton’s large poultry-processing plants filled more than half of its 750 person workforce with Latina/o laborers.

Dalton’s history exemplifies some of the regional patterns in the political economy and labor sphere evident in the late 20-century South. But the history of Latinas/os in the South differed across places. Sometimes Latinas/os moved to largely racially homogenous communities, such as northwestern Arkansas, and other times they moved to communities that were ethnically and racially diverse, like Atlanta.20 North Carolina exhibited patterns similar to yet also different from those found in Dalton, Georgia.

Latinas/os in North Carolina

Following the larger regional patterns of migration, immigration, and labor, Latinas/os moved to the Tar Heel State in the late 20th and early 21st centuries to work in the textile, food processing, and poultry industries. However, local contexts greatly shaped their experiences, and these could diverge even when counties were close to each other. Urban versus rural settings with their typically different population densities and political economies plus differences in the colorline that shaped how white and Black people interacted with each other proved crucial for establishing the frameworks and dynamics into which Latinas/os moved and navigated.

Two counties in rural eastern North Carolina recently studied by the sociologist Helen Marrow offer different contexts and environments that had long-lasting consequences for Latinas/os social, economic, and political involvement and mobility. “Bedford,” the pseudonym Marrow employed for a majority-Black county that was part of the Black Belt, relied on the “old rural South” economy of tobacco, agriculture, and textiles that had declined since the 1970s. In 2000, Latinas/os represented only 3 percent of the county’s population, while African Americans accounted for 58 percent. In contrast, Wilcox, a majority-white county part of the “new rural South,” offered low-wage jobs in agribusiness and food processing, including poultry processing. As Wilcox boomed in the late 1900s and after 2000, Latinas/os came to make up 15 percent of the population, African Americans represented 29 percent, and white people made up most of the remaining population.21

The counties’ racial compositions and their economies were important because Latinas/os entered the labor sphere with other low-wage workers who were Black or white. Latinas/os sometimes perceived African Americans as being “jealous” of their socioeconomic advancement and thought these tensions extended beyond the labor arena into schools, neighborhoods, and politics. People Marrow interviewed for the study even reported self-segregation that broke down by race and ethnicity—Black with Black, white with white, and Latina/o with Latina/o.22 Some Latinas/os recognized that their anti-Black racism was something they brought from their countries of origin, where they did not want to associate with Afro-Latin Americans.23 At the same time, Latinas/os also perceived more social exclusion from African Americans versus more “friendly” receptions by white community members. The delicate relationship between Latinas/os and African Americans was also influenced by the political power that Black people had in each county, especially since some Latinas/os were undocumented and unable to vote. To a certain extent, if African Americans believed they had enough political power, they supported more immigrant-friendly policies.

Marrow suggests that in rural eastern North Carolina, the colorline began to shift to Black/non-Black at the beginning of the 21st century as the presence of Latinas/os seeking social, economic, and political power effectively marginalized African Americans. Marrow notes that the specific rural setting was an important backdrop for that shift. In contrast, in a rural setting in Arkansas, Latinas/os, many of them Salvadoran, were forging a position for themselves as “better than white trash,” a position made possible by the fact that they were in an area that had been overwhelmingly white for most of the 20th century.24 They cast themselves as hard workers and in opposition to so-called lazy white people who were content to do minimal work. In both instances, Latinas/os attempted to claim social inclusion and positioned themselves as different from Black people or as the right kind of white people. In doing so they perpetuated the long-standing practice of gaining inclusion by marginalizing other ethnic or racial groups.25

Latinas/os and the Poultry Industry

The poultry industry was primarily responsible for drawing Latinas/os to the South, although some migrants did work in construction and agriculture. The South became a principal region for poultry production only in the late 20th century, and Latinas/os initially had not been a significant percentage of its workforce. The industry had begun in the Northeast, and during World War II the federal government encouraged Americans to be patriotic by eating more chicken so soldiers could eat red meat. Demand for poultry production drove new poultry production in the South as the original Northeast producers could not keep up with demand. Additionally, the region offered two incentives: historically low wages and anti-labor sentiments. Nonetheless, the industry struggled to make substantive profits until it developed “value-added” poultry products like breaded tenders and boneless, skinless pieces of meat. The industry also sought to increase their profits through vertical integration that resulted in concentrating their production in the South, where processing plants, feed mills, chicken farms, and laborers could be in close proximity. These changes led to the deskilling of labor with an increase in production-line speed and repetitive motion that make working conditions quite difficult.26

As the South increased poultry processing, technology, aeronautics, manufacturing, construction, and service sectors also boomed. These shifts created opportunities for some southerners, especially white men who often relocated from rural to urban areas, while less profitable work fell to working-class and working-poor laborers willing to do strenuous jobs, often Black people. The rising poultry industry offered some of these jobs and produced a dramatic demographic shift in the industry’s workforce. “Nationally, from 1980 to 2000, the white workforce in the poultry industry dropped from nearly 70 percent of the total to just over 30 percent, while Black workers increased from 30 to 50 percent and Latina/o laborers from 1 to 17 percent. During the same period, the number of workers in the industry more than doubled.”27 By the 1990s, Latina/o laborers increasingly moved to the region to work in poultry-related jobs and the industry benefited from a more exploitable workforce, especially undocumented laborers, as well as others who did not complain about labor conditions and rarely filed workers’ compensation claims.

The link between poultry processing and Latinas/os becomes more evident in light of the fact that “rapid Hispanic growth counties correspond[ed] to high-poultry production counties.”28 Other factors such as economic difficulties in California and Texas and social network connections that spread the word about opportunities in the South facilitated the migration and settlement of Latina/o southerners, but as scholar Steve Striffler argues, “the role of chicken cannot be underestimated.”29 More recent studies have traced the connections between the South’s history of racial inequality and the industry’s eternal search to drive down costs and increase its profits. Studies have also exposed how the industry has increasingly exploited workers in a variety of ways, from denying bathroom breaks to threatening deportation.30

The Latina/o presence in the American South has thus witnessed dramatic changes from the colonial era and 19th century to the 21st century. Since Latinas/os had been present in the South since the colonial period, it could be said that little changed on the surface. But the character and impact of the Latina/o presence in the South changed dramatically in the 20th century and especially after 1980. The Latina/o population in the South rose significantly. New immigrants came from many different Latin American nations under markedly different circumstances, and the U.S. government treated them differently. They moved into states in the central and deep South, not just Texas and Florida, and worked in both old and new Southern industries—textiles and poultry especially—that were critical to sustaining and developing the South’s late-20th-century industries. Their highly varied experiences demonstrated not only the continuing importance of race in America, but also the sometimes striking variations in the ways Southerners and Americans defined race—was it associated with skin color, national origin, occupation?—and how different populations in the areas in which Latinas/os settled could produce such diverse political and outcomes for them. These grounds are still are shifting in the second decade of the 21st century.

Discussion of the Literature

As a field, the study of Latinas/os in the South—a region sometimes referred to as the “Nuevo New South” or the “Nuevo South”—is fairly new and owes a debt to sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, and labor studies scholars who were among the first to document the changing and increasingly diversifying South.31 Scholars have studied the dynamic growth of Latinas/os in the South against the backdrop of larger processes that led migrants and immigrants to places of settlement outside of traditional Latina/o strongholds.32 Research shows that social networks were a crucial factor in the dynamic growth of Latinas/os and that there is a link between places that have meat-processing plants and a growing number of Latinas/os.33 There has also been a focus on the responses of local school districts to the needs of a growing school age population, especially if children and teens were English language learners. Frequently, school districts were unprepared to manage the growing numbers they saw year to year and sometimes searched for innovative solutions such as establishing connections to schools and universities in Mexico.34 Initially, scholars mentioned that Latinas/os were moving to areas historically defined by Black and white racial divisions but rarely explored how Latinas/os’ presence altered those dynamics.35 For many years the research about Latinas/os in the South was gathered in edited collections that drew connections between global and transnational connections, the local and regional settings, and the transformation of places throughout the region.36 Reflecting the growth of the field, only in the early 2000s have in-depth monographs focusing on one place, state, or subregion been published.37

One of the first single-authored books that addressed the growing Latina/o community in the South was Leon Fink’s the The Maya of Morganton. Fink’s book helped to expand the field of Latinas/os in the South and stands as an example of the best work in the field. The book is about the Maya community in Morganton, North Carolina, but Fink deftly maintained a focus on the local, regional, and hemispheric labor and social issues particular to Mayas who established themselves in the Tar Heel State. The Maya had initially started working in Florida until they heard there were jobs in poultry processing in North Carolina. A short time later they were at the center of a labor struggle and attempted to organize a labor union to gain better working conditions. Fink’s work demonstrates the links that exist across borders and how an immigrant group’s history in their native country can be a powerful tool to organize in the U.S. South.38

North Carolina has received a lot of attention in the bourgeoning field of Latinas/os in the South and, in 2011, was the subject of a special issue of the Southeastern Geographer, titled “Latina/o Geographies in the New South: The North Carolina Experience.” The issue was an important contribution to the field because it demonstrated a variety of approaches to analyzing the growing Latina/o community as well as exploring other tensions that came to the fore. One of the primary focus areas was how places changed or were in the process of changing in North Carolina. The contributing scholars represented a variety of fields and analyzed how Latinas/os navigated social dynamics, attempting to claim and succeeding in claiming belonging in various places in North Carolina. The issue also focused on grappling with the “Latinization” of the South or how the growing Latina/o community was altering long-time residents’ sense of place. These changes were reflected in outdoor activities such as playing soccer (as opposed to football), ethnic entrepreneurial small business owners who catered to Latina/o customers, a more diverse work force, and to other sites of encounters that contributed to a community’s sense of itself.39

In 2012, scholars writing about Latinas/os in the South put together another special issue for one of the major journals of the field, called Latino Studies. “Latino/as in the South: Immigration, Integration and Identity” explored a variety of topics.40 Many of the contributors were sociologists or anthropologists or drew from these disciplines, demonstrating how these two fields continued to shape knowledge production in the field. A few notable exceptions were a geographer, several health education specialists, a labor organizer, and a historian. Unlike the Southeastern Geographer issue, the Latino Studies issue had a regional focus and provided information for a variety of settings from urban to rural areas in North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Helen B. Marrow wrote a state of the field essay and explored some strengths of and gaps in the literature. She concluded by echoing a perspective that a pioneer in the field named Rubén Hernández-León had shared; namely, that if he went back to the beginning of his research on Dalton, Georgia, he would begin by going deeply into its history and then moving onto Latina/o migrants’ and immigrants’ arrival and experiences. Marrow closed by calling on scholars who study Latinas/os in the South to learn from southern historians and southern studies scholars to have more nuanced studies.41 Moreover, as I have argued elsewhere, there is certainly a need for scholars who write about Latinas/os in the South to engage the vast literature on Latina/o and Chicana/o history, and other studies that have contributed so much to our understanding of Latinas/os in the United States.42

Since that article was published, there have been multiple books that center the experience of Latinas/os in the South—Jamie Winders’s Nashville in the New Millennium, Julie Weise’s Corazon de Dixie, Vanessa Ribas’s On the Line, and Angela Stuesse’s Scratching Out a Living. It is noteworthy to point out that only Weise is a historian; Winders is a geographer, Ribas a sociologist, and Stuesse an anthropologist. Taken together, their research is deeply informed by issues of place, labor, and race, though Weise is the only one to take a longer view of history by exploring Latina/o communities in the early 20th century.43 The field’s focus on fairly contemporary communities might be explained by the increased ethnic and racial diversity in Southern places; however, it could also suggest that earlier Latina/o communities might have “integrated” into Southern society to such an extent that their history might be easily overlooked. Historians should heed Weise’s example and dig in unexpected places for the Latina/o trailblazers who made the South home.

In the meantime, despite being a fairly young field, there are already some established patterns that can do a disservice to the diverse Latina/o communities. First, the majority of these studies have focused on working-class Latinas/os and have largely omitted a discussion of middle-class or professional Latinas/os, which lends credence to a belief that only poor or working-class Latinas/os are making the South home. The focus on poor and working-class Latinas/os also obfuscates the roles that middle-class, college-educated Latina/o professionals often play as cultural brokers between mainstream society and working-class newcomers. In a similar fashion, much of the research centers on the experiences of undocumented people but often erases the diversity of Latina/o communities since there are also many legalized U.S. residents, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens. One of the most pernicious effects of such a focus is that it marginalizes so many young people that are native-born citizens, who are second-, third-, fourth-, or fifth-generation Americans. Finally, the literature has greatly focused on Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans to the disservice of every other national-origin group who are also making lives in Dixie. As the field continues to uncover and document histories across the region, a richer tapestry about the lives of Latina/o southerners will emerge.

Primary Sources

One of the challenges of writing about Latina/o southerners is that it is difficult to find sources in major collections. The lack of documents that can provide accounts, partial as they may be, of the histories of Latinas/os in the South can be explained as a result of the group’s marginalization and subordinated status. As the popular refrain says, “history is written by the winners.” What would be an accurate follow-up is, “And archives are constructed by them too.” In other words, Latinas/os—Mexican Americans, Cuban refugees, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan immigrants—would not necessarily be identified as “important” people or be sufficiently noteworthy to have archivists seek out documents that tell their histories. Instead, the information about Latinas/os in the South is spread across federal, state, and city collections. Rather than be explicitly labeled as “Latina” or “Latino,” the materials are instead categorized by country of origin, ethnic background, policies, and projects that targeted particular populations.

However, Latinas/os have also created archives that seek to document their histories and when faced with a limited or insufficient paper trail they have conducted oral histories and collected ephemera. Latina/o history can also be recuperated through oral histories or in-depth interviews by allowing people to recount their life histories or share their experiences of a particular issue. However, these kinds of collections rarely have a regional focus and are usually found in local or state university library collections. Ephemera are objects that were made with the expectation that they would be used for a short time period, maybe even a one-time use—for example, flyers for a rally or organizing meeting. The objects sometimes survive because a participant puts it in a drawer and forgets about it or because an activist put it in her collection to have a record of her own activities. However, it is very difficult to find ephemera and those objects alone can only tell part of the history.

A person interested in beginning to piece together local histories can begin by looking at the archives of the Catholic archdiocese and Catholic diocese in the cities of interest; such records will provide information about Latina/o southerners who were practicing Catholics. Likewise, looking through the archives of other religious institutions and organizations will provide valuable information about non-Catholic Latinas/os. It is also a good idea to look at the papers of governors who were in office during the time period under investigation; this search will require some knowledge about the issue that came to the forefront at a given time, such as housing, education, social services, and so on. Likewise, depending on the research question, a scholar can look at courtroom documents to see what issues were being deliberated. If the Latina/o group under question had connections to another country or their country of origin, a researcher can look at federal archives in that country. For example, Julie Weise found a lot of information on Mexican immigrants in the Archivo de la Embajada de México en Los Estados Unidos de América (Archive of the Mexican Embassy in the United States of America) and in the Archivo Historicó de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (Historic Archive of the Ministry of External Affairs) in Mexico City. Someone interested in Latina/o southerners will have to be a history detective and follow the breadcrumbs to different places, sometimes even outside of the United States, to piece together the rich lives of Latinas/os in the South.

The following list of archives includes material related to Latina/o southerners as part of their collections:

  • Bracero History Archive “collects and makes available the oral histories and artifacts pertaining to the Bracero program, a guest worker initiative that spanned the years 1942–1964. Millions of Mexican agricultural workers crossed the border under the program to work in more than half of the states in America.”

  • Southern Oral History Program Collection in the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • The Latino Migration Project (with a focus on North Carolina) is a collaborative program of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Regional Directory of Latino Media compiles data on radio, television, and newspapers that cater to Latino audiences in North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Latinos, the American South, and the Future of US Race Relations,” presentation by historian George Sanchez, published April 26, 2007.

Freedom University, Georgia. “Based in Atlanta, Freedom University is inspired by the legacy of the Southern Freedom School tradition. We provide tuition-free education, college application and scholarship assistance, and tangible movement skill building to undocumented students banned from public higher education in Georgia.”

¡NUEVOlution! Latinos and the New South,” an exhibit by the Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte, North Carolina.

The New Latino South: The Context and Consequences of Rapid Population Growth,” a comprehensive report published in 2005 by the Pew Research Center on the grown of Latinas/os in the South.

Southern Spaces is “a journal about real and imagined spaces and place of the US South and their global connections.”

Further Reading

Ansley, Fran, and Jon Shefner, eds. Global Connections and Local Receptions: New Latino Immigration to the Southeastern United States. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Arreola, Daniel D., ed. Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Fink, Leon. The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Foley, Neil. The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Guerrero, Perla M. “Chicana/o History as Southern History: Race, Place, and the U.S. South.” In A Promising Problem: The New Chicana/o History. Edited by Carlos Kevin Blanton, 83–110. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016.Find this resource:

Marrow, Helen B.New Destination Dreaming: Immigration, Race, and Legal Status in the Rural American South. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Massey, Douglas S., ed. New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008.Find this resource:

Montejano, David. Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of South Texas, 1836–1986. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987.Find this resource:

Odem, Mary E., and Elaine Lacy, eds. Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Ribas, Vanesa. On the Line: Slaughterhouse Lives and the Making of the New South. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Smith, Heather A., and Owen J. Furuseth, eds. Latinos in the New South: Transformations of Place. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006.Find this resource:

Stuesse, Angela. Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016.Find this resource:

Weise, Julie. Corazón de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Winders, Jamie. Nashville in the New Millennium: Immigrant Settlement, Urban Transformation, and Social Belonging. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2013.Find this resource:

Zúñiga, Victor, and Rubén Hernández-León, eds. New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2005.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class, rev. ed. (New York: Verso, 1999), 13.

(2.) For more on the formation of white workers, Black workers, as well as the formation of whiteness, see W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880 (New York: The Free Press, 1992); Bobby Wilson, America’s Johannesburg: Industrialization and Racial Transformation in Birmingham (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000); Thomas A. Guglielmo, White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004); Thomas Holt, The Problem of Race in the Twenty-first Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000); Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998); Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890–1940 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998); and David R. Roediger, Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003). For a discussion of escaped slaves, race, and the connections between the U.S. South and Mexico in the 19th century, see Sarah Cornell, “Citizens of Nowhere: Fugitive Slaves and African Americans in Mexico, 1833–1857,” The Journal of American History (2013): 351–374.

(3.) Neil Foley, “Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americans and the Faustian Pact with Whiteness,” in Reflexiones: New Directions in Mexican American Studies, ed. Neil Foley (Austin: Center for Mexican American Studies, 1997), 53–70; and Ian Haney Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race, rev. ed. (New York: New York University Press, 2006).

(4.) David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of South Texas, 1836–1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987); and Neil Foley, The White Scourge: Mexicans, Blacks, and Poor Whites in Texas Cotton Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).

(5.) Julie Weise, Corazón de Dixie: Mexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).

(6.) Ana Elizabeth Rosas, Abrazando el Espíritu: Bracero Families Confront the US–Mexico Border (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014); and Debora Cohen, Braceros: Migrant Citizens and Transnational Subjects in the Postwar United States and Mexico (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

(7.) Weise, Corazón de Dixie.

(8.) Juan Gonzalez, Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin Books, 2011); and Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, Latino America: A State-by-State Encyclopedia (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008).

(9.) Rubén Hernández-León, and Víctor Zúñiga, “Making Carpet by the Mile: The Emergence of a Mexican Immigrant Community in an Industrial Region of the U.S. Historic South,” Social Science Quarterly 81.1 (2000): 49–66; Rubén Hernández-León and Víctor Zúñiga, “Mexican Immigrant Communities in the South and Social Capital: The Case of Dalton, Georgia,” Southern Rural Sociology 19.1 (2003): 20–45; Charles Hirschman and Douglass S. Massey, “Places and Peoples: The New American Mosaic,” in New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration, ed. Douglas S. Massey (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008), 4–10; William Kandel and Emilio A. Parrado, “Industrial Transformation and Hispanic Migration to the American South: The Case of the Poultry Industry,” in Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: A Geography of Regional and Cultural Diversity, ed. Daniel D. Arreola (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004), 255–276; Steve Striffler, Chicken: The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005); Michael J. Broadway, “From City to Countryside: Recent Changes in the Structure and Location of the Meat- and Fish-Processing Industries,” in Any Way You Cut It: Meat Processing and Small Town America, eds. Donald D. Stull, Michael J. Broadway, and David Griffith (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995); David Griffith, “Hay Trabajo: Poultry Processing, Rural Industrialization, and the Latinization of Low-Wage Labor,” in Any Way You Cut It: Meat Processing and Small Town America, eds. Donald D. Stull, Michael J. Broadway, and David Griffith (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995); Rebecca M. Torres, E. Jeffrey Popke, and Holly M. Hapke, “The South’s Silent Bargain: Rural Restructuring, Latino Labor and the Ambiguities of Migrant Experience,” in Latinos in the New South: Transformations of Place, eds. Heather A. Smith and Owen J. Furuseth (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006), 37–68; Leon Fink, The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003); James D. Engstrom, “Industry and Immigration in Dalton, Georgia,” in Latino Workers in the Contemporary South, eds. Arthur D. Murphy, Colleen Blanchard, and Jennifer A. Hill (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999), 44–56; Greig Guthey, “Mexican Places in Southern Spaces: Globalization, Work, and Daily Life in and Around the North Georgia Poultry Industry,” in Latino Workers in the Contemporary South, eds. Arthur D. Murphy, Colleen Blanchard, and Jennifer A. Hill (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999), 57–67; and Emilio A. Parrado and William Kandel, “New Hispanic Migrant Destinations: A Tale of Two Industries,” in New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration, ed. Douglas S. Massey (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008), 99–123.

(10.) Rakesh Kochar, Roberto Suro, and Sonya Tafoya, “The New Latino South: The Context and Consequences of Rapid Population Growth,” Pew Hispanic Center Report (Washington, DC: Pew Research Center Project, 2005), ii–iii, available at http://www.pewhispanic.org/2005/07/26/the-new-latino-south/. This report provides a lot of statistics about the shifting regional political economy, especially the types of jobs created in the region, Latinas/os participation in the work force, and their earnings.

(11.) Table 1: Growth in Hispanic Population among 10 Fastest Growing Hispanic States, 2000–2011, in “Mapping the Latino Population, By State, County and City,” Pew Research Center, Hispanic Trends, August 29, 2013, http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/08/29/mapping-the-latino-population-by-state-county-and-city/.

(12.) U.S. Census Bureau News Releases, “2010 Census Shows Nation’s Hispanic Population Grew Four Times Faster Than Total U.S. Population,” U.S. Census Bureau, May 26, 2011, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/2010_census/cb11-cn146.html.

(13.) Several U.S. states prohibit undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition increasing the cost of attending college to amounts that are prohibitively expensive. Georgia, however, went above and beyond that legislation with Policy 4.1.6 that effectively bars undocumented students from the state’s top five public universities: the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia College and State University, Georgia Regents University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

(14.) Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Making Carpet by the Mile,” 53, 56.

(15.) Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Making Carpet by the Mile,” 59–63; and Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Mexican Immigrant Communities.”

(16.) Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Making Carpet by the Mile,” 52–53.

(17.) Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Making Carpet by the Mile,” 57–58.

(18.) Rubén Hernández-León and Sarah Morando Lakhani, “Gender, Bilingualism, and the Early Occupational Careers of Second-Generation Mexicans in the South,” Social Forces 92.1 (2013): 65.

(19.) Hernández-León and Lakhani, “Gender, Bilingualism, and the Early Occupational Careers of Second-Generation Mexicans in the South,” 68.

(20.) Perla M. Guerrero, “A Tenuous Welcome for Latinas/os and Asians: States’ Rights Discourse in Late 20th Century Arkansas,” Race and Ethnicity in Arkansas: Perspectives on the African American and Latino/a Experience, ed. John Kirk (Little Rock: University of Arkansas Press, 2014), 141–151; Perla M. Guerrero, “Chicana/o History as Southern History: Race, Place, and the U.S. South,” A Promising Problem: The New Chicana/o History, ed. Carlos Kevin Blanton (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2016), 83–110; and Irene Browne and Mary Odem, “‘Juan Crow’ in the Nuevo South: Racialization of Guatemalan and Dominican Immigrants in the Atlanta Metro Area,” Du Bois Review 9.2 (2012): 321–337.

(21.) Helen B. Marrow, New Destination Dreaming: Immigration, Race, and Legal Status in the Rural American South (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2011).

(22.) Marrow, New Destination Dreaming, 117.

(23.) Marrow, New Destination Dreaming, 118.

(24.) Miranda Cady Hallett, “‘Better than White Trash’: Work Ethic, Latinidad and Whiteness in Rural Arkansas,” Latino Studies 10.1–2 (2012): 81–106.

(25.) Foley, “Becoming Hispanic.”

(26.) Guerrero, “Chicana/o History as Southern History,” 88. For a in-depth report of some of the working conditions and exploitative labor practices, see Human Rights Watch, Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers’ Rights in US Meat and Poultry Plants (2004).

(27.) Guerrero, “Chicana/os History as Southern History,” 88–89.

(28.) William Kandel, “Meat-Processing Firms Attract Hispanic Workers.

to Rural America,” United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2006-june/meat-processing-firms-attract-hispanic-workers-to-rural-america.aspx#.Uwvpa15RHVU.

(29.) Striffler, Chicken, 95.

(30.) Vanesa Ribas, On the Line: Slaughterhouse Lives and the Making of the New South (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015); and Angela Stuesse, Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016).

(31.) Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Making Carpet by the Mile”; Hernández-León and Zúñiga, “Mexican Immigrant Communities”; and Jaimie Winders, “Changing Politics of Race and Region: Latino Migration to the US South,” Progress in Human Geography 29.6 (2005): 683–699. See footnote 8 for more citations.

(32.) Douglas S. Massey, ed., New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008); and Victor Zúñiga and Rubén Hernández-León, eds. New Destinations: Mexican Immigration in the United States (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2005).

(33.) Daniel D. Arreola, ed., Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places: Community and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004); Striffler, Chicken; Donald D. Stull, Michael J. Broadway, and David Griffith, Any Way You Cut It: Meat Processing and Small-Town America (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995); Heather A. Smith and Owen J. Furuseth, eds., Latinos in the New South: Transformations of Place (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006); Arthur D. Murphy, Colleen Blanchard, and Jennifer A. Hill, eds., Latino Workers in the Contemporary South (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1999); and William Kandel, “Meat-Processing Firms Attract Hispanic Workers to Rural America,” Department of Agriculture, June 1, 2006, http://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2006-june/meat-processing-firms-attract-hispanic-workers-to-rural-america.aspx#.Uwvpa15RHVU.

(34.) Andrew Wainer, “The New Latino South and the Challenge to Public Education: Strategies for Educators and Policymakers in Emerging Immigrant Communities” (Los Angeles, CA: Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, 2004); and Edmund T. Hamann, The Educational Welcome of Latinos in the New South (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2003).

(35.) For some exceptions, see Barbara Ellen Smith, “Across Races and Nations: Social Justice Organizing in the Transnational South,” in Latinos in the New South: Transformations of Place, eds. Heather A. Smith and Owen J. Furuseth (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006), 235–256; Helen B. Marrow, “Hispanic Immigration, Black Population Size, and Intergroup Relations in the Rural and Small Town-South,” in New Faces in New Places: The Changing Geography of American Immigration, ed. Douglas S. Massey (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008), 211–248; and Paula D. McClain et al., “Racial Distancing in a Southern City: Latino Immigrants’ Views of Black Americans,” The Journal of Politics 68.3 (2006): 571–584.

(36.) Arreola, Hispanic Spaces, Latino Places; Smith and Furuseth, Latinos in the New South; Murphy, Blanchard, and Hill, Latino Workers in the Contemporary South; Massey, New Faces in New Places; Zúñiga and Hernández-León, New Destinations; Hamann, The Educational Welcome of Latinos in the New South; Mary E. Odem and Elaine Lacy, eds., Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2009); Cameron Lippard and Charles A. Gallagher, eds., Being Brown in Dixie: Race, Ethnicity, and Latino Immigration in the New South (Boulder, CO: First Forum Press, 2011); and Fran Ansley and Jon Shefner, eds., Global Connections and Local Receptions: New Latino Immigration to the Southeastern United States (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2009).

(37.) Debra J. Schleef and H. B. Cavalcanti, Latinos in Dixie: Class and Assimilation in Richmond, Virginia (Albany: State University of New York: 2009); Hannah Gill, The Latino Migration Experiences in North Carolina: New Roots in the Old North State (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010); Marrow, New Destination Dreaming; Jamie Winders, Nashville in the New Millennium: Immigrant Settlement, Urban Transformation, and Social Belonging (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2013); Ribas, On the Line; Stuesse, Scratching Out a Living; and Weise, Corazón de Dixie.

(38.) Fink, The Maya of Morganton.

(39.) Altha J. Cravey and Gabriela Valdivia, “Latina/o Geographies in the New South: The North Carolina Experience” Southeastern Geographer 51.2 (2011).

(40.) Suzanne Oboler, “Latino/as in the South: Immigration, Integration and Identity,” Latino Studies 10.1–2 (2012): 1–10.

(41.) Helen B. Marrow, “The Latino South: The State of the Field—A Review Essay,” Latino Studies 10.1–2 (2012): 267.

(42.) Guerrero, “Chicana/o History as Southern History,” 103.

(43.) My own forthcoming book, Nuevo South: Latinas/os, Asians, and the Remaking of Place (University of Texas Press), also focuses on race, labor, and place by exploring the reception and racialization of Cuban and Vietnamese refugees and Mexican immigrants in northwest Arkansas, an area that was overwhelmingly white throughout most of the 20th century as a result of racial cleansing in the 1900s.