Northwestern University

Wed 5:00 PM

Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago

When: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM  

Where: Harris Hall, 108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Carlos Octavio Ballinas  

Group: The Latina and Latino Studies Program

Category: Multicultural & Diversity


In the postwar period,  industrial like cities Chicago underwent dramatic population shifts that radically changed the complexion of the urban north. These dynamics have long been understood as a movement of African American and white populations in and out of the city. Yet Mexicans and Puerto Ricans added a complex layer to local racial dynamics.   Brown in the Windy City is the first history to examine the sometimes overlapping, sometimes distinct migration and settlement of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in these decades. Here, Lilia Fernandez reveals how the two populations arrived in Chicago in the midst of tremendous social and economic change and, in the midst of declining industrial employment and massive urban renewal projects. She explores how both populations found both a literal place in the city's geography, as well as a figurative place in the local social order. Over the course of these three decades, through their experiences in the city’s central neighborhoods, Fernández demonstrates how Mexicans and Puerto Ricans collectively articulated a racially distinct subject position in Chicago, one that was flexible and fluid, neither black nor white.

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