In this book, Llana Barber interweaves the histories of urban crisis in U.S. cities and imperial migration from Latin America. Pushed to migrate by political and economic circumstances shaped by the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, poor and working-class Latinos then had to reckon with the segregation, joblessness, disinvestment, and profound stigma that plagued U.S. cities during the crisis era, particularly in the Rust Belt. For many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, there was no "American Dream" awaiting them in Lawrence; instead, Latinos struggled to build lives for themselves in the ruins of industrial America.
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Latino City offers an essential lens for understanding the national and global histories of immigration and of U.S. cities in the second half of the twentieth century. In recounting the history of Lawrence, and the stories of the Dominican, Puerto Rican, and other Latino migrants who saved it from abandonment and decay, Barber emphasizes the disjuncture between the revitalization that these Latinos brought to the city and the appalling racism, abuse, exclusion, and brutality that they faced in everyday life.A. K. Sandoval-Strausz, University of New Mexico
Llana Barber offers a welcome addition to the growing literature on Latinos/as in the urban North. Drawing on vivid oral history interviews and rich data, she gives readers an intimate view of how Latinos/as in Lawrence encountered the urban crisis, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. Barber presents an ideal model for interethnic Latino/a urban history, one that reminds us that Latinos/as have lived among one another in ethnically diverse communities and that they migrated to smaller cities beyond New York, Chicago, and Miami in the postwar years.Lilia Fernandez, Brown in the Windy City: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicago