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Proletarians of the North

A History of Mexican Industrial Workers in Detroit and the Midwest, 1917-1933 (Latinos in American Society and Culture #1)

Zaragosa Vargas


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Between the end of World War I and the Great Depression, over 58,000 Mexicans journeyed to the Midwest in search of employment. Many found work in agriculture, but thousands more joined the growing ranks of the industrial proletariat. Throughout the northern Midwest, and especially in Detroit, Mexican workers entered steel mills, packing houses, and auto plants, becoming part of the modern American working class.

Zaragosa Vargas's work focuses on this little-known feature in the history of Chicanos and American labor. In relating the experiences of Mexicans in workplace and neighborhood, and in showing the roles of Mexican women, the Catholic Church, and labor unions, Vargas enriches our knowledge of immigrant urban life. His is an important work that will be welcomed by historians of Chicano Studies and American labor.

University of California Press, 9780520219625, 293pp.

Publication Date: March 2, 1999

About the Author

Zaragosa Vargas is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is the editor of Major Problems in Mexican American History (1999).