My book project, Mexican Corridors: Migration and Community Formation in the Central United States, 1900 to 1950, analyzes ethnic Mexican community formation in the Lower Midwest through migration, cultural production, interethnic cooperation and conflict, and the creation of local immigration policy. I argue that Mexican migrants created a regional community through mobility, cultural adaptation, and transnational organizing while navigating U.S. and Mexican institutions and competing racial projects that hindered Midwestern Mexican community formation.
Mexican Corridors draws on Mexican and American archival sources to underwrite new threads in Latinx and migration history that reckon with how Midwestern Mexican experiences with Americanization programs, inconsistent discrimination, Mexican consulates, and repatriation differed from ethnic Mexican experiences in the Southwest during the interwar years. Migrants, I argue, created corridors: well-traveled physical, social, and political paths that established and strengthened ethnic Mexican communities in the central United States. My project highlights how Mexican migrants created a regional community across urban and rural areas through seasonal labor, cultural production, and their use of Mexican consulates. I describe how –as Mexicans navigated employment, public parks and pools, churches, and welfare services– encounters with Anglos and African Americans reshaped their communities and the meaning of race in the Midwest. Finally, I examine the relationship among migrants, Mexican consulates, and local and federal U.S. officials to reveal how local immigration policy limited Mexican permanence in the Midwest and presented competing definitions of citizenship.
My use of U.S. and Mexican national archives as well as university, state, and local archives has been funded by the Americas Research Network, the Kansas Historical Society, the Center for Missouri Studies, and University of Minnesota Libraries. I have produced two scholarly articles from their generous support, one published in Nebraska History and another in the Missouri Historical Review. You can find more my writing on Mexican migrants in the Midwest here and here.
Image from Archivo Histórico de Secretaría Relaciones Exteriores
Image from Immigration History Research Center Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries