New Book Traces Mexican Immigration History

Trace the diverse journeys – and trials and triumphs along the way – of generations of Mexicans who immigrated to and settled in the Upper Midwest in the newest addition to the Wisconsin Historical Society Press’s “People of Wisconsin” Series, Mexicans in Wisconsin by Sergio González.

Arriving in Wisconsin from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, the earliest Mexican immigrants to Wisconsin traveled north in search of better economic opportunities and relief from the violence and economic turmoil of the Mexican Revolution. They found work in tanneries and foundries, and on beet farms where they replaced earlier European immigrant workers who had moved on to family farms. As Mexican immigration has grown to the present day, these families have become integral members of Wisconsin communities, building businesses, support systems, and religious institutions. Along the way, their journeys were marked by the challenges of inadequate working conditions, educational barriers, and prejudice.

This concise history showcases fascinating stories of this vibrant and resilient immigrant population: from the Tejano migrant workers who traveled north seasonally to work in the state’s cucumber fields, to the determined labor movement led by Jesus Salas, to the young activists of the Chicano Movement, and beyond.

González is a doctoral candidate in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of History with research interests in American labor, immigration, and working class history. His research investigates Milwaukee’s Latino community throughout the 20th century, focusing on the role of religion in creating interethnic and intraethnic communities, organizations, and social justice movements.

For more information or to buy a copy of the book, visit

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