News Column

Helpful Perspective on U.S. Immigration Debate Offered by New Book 'STEEL BARRIO,' a Document of Early Mexican Immigration to Chicago

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As Congress debates immigration policy, STEEL BARRIO shows why a vibrant immigrant community has always been important for a prosperous American economy.


STEEL BARRIO, a new book by NYU Press, will give advocates, policy makers, politicians, scholars and anyone else interested in immigration a historical perspective on how new ethnic communities become assets to local communities as they cope with harassment and discrimination in time of national economic crisis.

STEEL BARRIO tells the story of how a community developed and survived the Great Depression to become the vibrant, active community that continues to play a central role in Chicago politics and society.

This book investigates the years between the World Wars, the period that witnessed the first, massive influx of Mexicans into Chicago. STEEL BARRIO argues that the Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans who came to South Chicago created a strong sense of community not only to defend against the ever-present social, political, and economic harassment and discrimination, but to grow in a foreign, polluted, industrial environment.

Michael Innis-Jimenez, the author, is a historian and American studies scholar at the University of Alabama. His areas of expertise include twentieth and twenty-first century Mexican and Mexican American migration to the American South and the American Midwest. His research focuses on Latinos/as in the United States, transnationalism, immigration, labor, and civil rights.

"Beautifully written and copiously documented . . . a wonderful book that will surely become the canonic history of Mexican settlement in the windy city."

--Ramon A. Gutierrez, University of Chicago

"The richly documented history of Mexican South Chicago here yields a sophisticated, rounded, and compelling study of the evolution of an immigrant place. . . . Tells textured human stories of the work, play, and solidarity that created and recreated an enduring community, snatching life from discrimination and hardship."

--David Roediger, University of Illinois

"Fascinating and often enlightening . . . Transforms our thinking about Mexican American history and the history of urban America."

--Matthew Garcia, Arizona State University

Book details:

CONTACTS:Betsy SteveSenior Publicist, NYU Press212-992-9991Email



This press release was issued through eReleases(R) Press Release Distribution. For more information, visit Photo: Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.comMichael Innis-Jimenez

Source: PR Newswire

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