Desperate for laborers to keep the trains moving during World War II, the U.S. and Mexican governments created a now mostly forgotten bracero railroad program that sent a hundred thousand Mexican workers across the border to build and maintain railroad lines throughout the United States, particularly the West. Although both governments promised the workers adequate living arrangements and fair working conditions, most bracero railroaders lived in squalor, worked dangerous jobs, and were subject to harsh racial discrimination. Making matters worse, the governments held a percentage of the workers’ earnings in a savings and retirement program that supposedly would await the men on their return to Mexico. However, rampant corruption within both the railroad companies and the Mexican banks meant that most workers were unable to collect what was rightfully theirs. Historian Erasmo Gamboa recounts the difficult conditions, systemic racism, and decades-long quest for justice these men faced. The result is a pathbreaking examination that deepens our understanding of Mexican American, immigration, and labor histories in the twentieth-century U.S. West.
In contemporary discourse, much of the discussion of U.S. border politics focuses on the Southwest. In Bootlegged Aliens, however, Ashley Johnson Bavery considers the North as a borderlands region, demonstrating how this often-overlooked border influenced government policies toward illegal immigration, business and labor union practices around migrant labor, and the experience of being an illegal immigrant in early twentieth-century industrial America. Bavery examines how immigrants, politicians, and employers helped shape national policies toward noncitizen laborers. In the process, she uncovers the northern industrial origins of an exploitative system that emerged on America's border with Canada, whose legacy remains central to debates about America's borders today. Bavery begins in the 1920s to explore how that decade's immigration restrictions launched an era of policing and profiling that excluded America's foreign born from the benefits of citizenship. On the border between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, this process turned certain Europeans into undocumented immigrants, a group the press and policymakers referred to as bootlegged aliens. Over the next decade, deportation and policing practices stigmatized entire communities of ethnic Europeans regardless of their legal status. Moreover, restrictive laws allowed manufacturers to exploit workers in new ways. By the Great Depression, citizenship had become an invisible boundary that excluded hundreds of thousands of laborers from New Deal entitlements. Accepted wisdom suggests that the 1924 Immigration Act had allowed ethnic Europeans to shed ties to their homelands and assimilate into the "melting pot" of American culture by the 1930s. Bavery challenges this perspective, finding that, instead of forging a common culture with their fellow workers, European immigrants coming through Canada to Detroit faced statewide registration drives, exclusion from key labor unions, and disqualification from the Works Progress Administration, the cornerstone of America's nascent welfare state. In the heart of industrial America, Bootlegged Aliens reveals, citizenship was highly contingent.
Almost All Aliens offers a unique reinterpretation of immigration in the history of the United States. Setting aside the European migrant-centered melting-pot model of immigrant assimilation, Paul Spickard, Francisco Beltrán, and Laura Hooton put forward a fresh and provocative reconceptualization that embraces the multicultural, racialized, and colonially inflected reality of immigration that has always existed in the United States. Their astute study illustrates the complex relationship between ethnic identity and race, slavery, and colonial expansion. Examining the lives of those who crossed the Atlantic, as well as those who crossed the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the North American Borderlands, Almost All Aliens provides a distinct, inclusive, and critical analysis of immigration, race, and identity in the United States from 1600 until the present. The second edition updates Almost All Aliens through the first two decades of the twenty-first century, recounting and analyzing the massive changes in immigration policy, the reception of immigrants, and immigrant experiences that whipsawed back and forth throughout the era. It includes a new final chapter that brings the story up to the present day. This book will appeal to students and researchers alike studying the history of immigration, race, and colonialism in the United States, as well as those interested in American identity, especially in the context of the early twenty-first century.
Transportation by Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Celebrating the sesquicentennial anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States, After Promontory: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Transcontinental Railroading profiles the history and heritage of this historic event. Starting with the original Union Pacific—Central Pacific lines that met at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869, the book expands the narrative by considering all of the transcontinental routes in the United States and examining their impact on building this great nation. Exquisitely illustrated with full color photographs, After Promontory divides the western United States into three regions—central, southern, and northern—and offers a deep look at the transcontinental routes of each one. Renowned railroad historians Maury Klein, Keith Bryant, and Don Hofsommer offer their perspectives on these regions along with contributors H. Roger Grant and Rob Krebs.
Between 1942 and 1945, the U.S. government wrongfully imprisoned thousands of Japanese American citizens and profited from their labor. Japanese American Incarceration recasts the forced removal and incarceration of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II as a history of prison labor and exploitation. Following Franklin Roosevelt's 1942 Executive Order 9066, which called for the exclusion of potentially dangerous groups from military zones along the West Coast, the federal government placed Japanese Americans in makeshift prisons throughout the country. In addition to working on day-to-day operations of the camps, Japanese Americans were coerced into harvesting crops, digging irrigation ditches, paving roads, and building barracks for little to no compensation and often at the behest of privately run businesses—all in the name of national security. How did the U.S. government use incarceration to address labor demands during World War II, and how did imprisoned Japanese Americans respond to the stripping of not only their civil rights, but their labor rights as well? Using a variety of archives and collected oral histories, Japanese American Incarceration uncovers the startling answers to these questions. Stephanie D. Hinnershitz's timely study connects the government's exploitation of imprisoned Japanese Americans to the history of prison labor in the United States.
Transportation by The Center for Railroad Photography & Art
Celebrating the sesquicentennial anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the United States , After Promontory: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Transcontinental Railroading profiles the history and heritage of this historic event. Starting with the original Union Pacific—Central Pacific lines that met at Promontory Summit, Utah, in 1869, the book expands the narrative by considering all of the transcontinental routes in the United States and examining their impact on building this great nation. Exquisitely illustrated with full color photographs, After Promontory divides the western United States into three regions—central, southern, and northern—and offers a deep look at the transcontinental routes of each one. Renowned railroad historians Maury Klein, Keith Bryant, and Don Hofsommer offer their perspectives on these regions along with contributors H. Roger Grant and Rob Krebs.
La Gente traces the rise of the Chicana/o Movement in Sacramento and the role of everyday people in galvanizing a collective to seek lasting and transformative change during the 1960s and 1970s. In their efforts to be self-determined, la gente contested multiple forms of oppression at school, at work sites, and in their communities. Though diverse in their cultural and generational backgrounds, la gente were constantly negotiating acts of resistance, especially when their lives, the lives of their children, their livelihoods, or their households were at risk. Historian Lorena V. Márquez documents early community interventions to challenge the prevailing notions of desegregation by barrio residents, providing a look at one of the first cases of outright resistance to desegregation efforts by ethnic Mexicans. She also shares the story of workers in the Sacramento area who initiated and won the first legal victory against canneries for discriminating against brown and black workers and women, and demonstrates how the community crossed ethnic barriers when it established the first accredited Chicana/o and Native American community college in the nation. Márquez shows that the Chicana/o Movement was not solely limited to a handful of organizations or charismatic leaders. Rather, it encouraged those that were the most marginalized--the working poor, immigrants and/or the undocumented, and the undereducated--to fight for their rights on the premise that they too were contributing and deserving members of society.
Alien labor, Mexican by Barbara Driscoll de Alvarado
Introduces new approaches, theoretical trends, and understudied topics in Latinx Studies This groundbreaking work offers a multidisciplinary, social-science oriented perspective on Latinx studies, including the social histories and contemporary lives of a diverse range of Latina and Latino populations. Editors Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas and Mérida M. Rúa have crafted an anthology that is unique in both form and content. The book combines previously published canonical pieces with original, cutting-edge works created for this volume. The sections of the text are arranged thematically as critical dialogues, each with a brief preface that provides context and a conceptual direction for the scholarly conversation that ensues. The editors frame the volume around the “humanistic social sciences,” using the term to highlight the historical and social contexts under which expressive cultural forms and archival records are created. Critical Dialogues in Latinx Studies masterfully sheds light on the diversity and complexity of the everyday lives of Latinx populations, the political economic structures that shape enduring racialization and cultural stereotyping, and the continuing efforts to carve out new lives as diasporic, transnational, global, and colonial subjects.
A sweeping narrative history of American immigration from the colonial period to the present “A masterly historical synthesis, full of wonderful detail and beautifully written, that brings fresh insights to the story of how immigrants were drawn to and settled in America over the centuries.”—Nancy Foner, author of One Quarter of the Nation The history of the United States has been shaped by immigration. Historians Carl J. Bon Tempo and Hasia R. Diner provide a sweeping historical narrative told through the lives and words of the quite ordinary people who did nothing less than make the nation. Drawn from stories spanning the colonial period to the present, Bon Tempo and Diner detail the experiences of people from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. They explore the many themes of American immigration scholarship, including the contexts and motivations for migration, settlement patterns, work, family, racism, and nativism, against the background of immigration law and policy. Taking a global approach that considers economic and personal factors in both the sending and receiving societies, the authors pay close attention to how immigration has been shaped by the state response to its promises and challenges.