With Today's Immigration Debate Raging, Michael Innis-Jimenez's New Book 'STEEL BARRIO,' a Document of Early Mexican Immigration to Chicago, Provides Helpful Historical Perspective

NEW YORK, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- What is causing the anti-immigrant fervor in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and many other parts of the U.S.? What role has the Great Recession played in the spread of anti-immigrant legislation and rhetoric throughout areas with new Latino populations? STEEL BARRIO, a new book by NYU Press will give advocates, policy makers, and anyone else interested in immigration a historical perspective on how new ethnic communities cope with harassment and discrimination in time of national economic crisis.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130430/PH03527

Drawing on individual stories and oral histories, Michael Innis-Jimenez 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.  

STEEL BARRIO also examines how the fortunes of Mexicans in South Chicago were linked to the environment they helped to build. 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 immigrant and Mexican American men and women who came to South Chicago created physical and imagined community not only to defend against the ever-present social, political, and economic harassment and discrimination, but to grow in a foreign, polluted environment.

Michael Innis-Jimenez , the author, is an American Studies scholar and historian 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.

"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

"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

Book details: https://nyupress.org/books/book-details.aspx?bookId=11649#.UX6EioJ1H85

Betsy Steve
Senior Publicist, NYU Press


Michael Innis-Jimenez

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