Latinos in the U.S. South

Cecilia Márquez examines the social and cultural history of Latinos in the post-World War II South. She traces the history of Latino/as during the demise of Jim Crow segregation and their transformation from an ethnic group to a racial one. Her work helps historicize contemporary Latino/a migration to the U.S. South and emphasizes the importance of region in shaping Latino/a identity.


"The Strange Career of Juan Crow: Latino/a Racial Formations and the U.S. South, 1940-2010" examines the social and cultural history of Latinos in the post- World War II South. It traces the history of Latino/as, primarily Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans, during the demise of Jim Crow segregation and their transformation from an ethnic group to a racial one. Based on archival research and oral histories, this project examines the lives of Latino/as in civil rights organizing, military service, and labor. Additionally, the project examines Southern foodways, leisure practices, and visual culture to analyze the representation of Latinos in mass culture. It demonstrates that the anti-Latino sentiment in the South today is a recent invention; prior to the 1980s Latinos benefitted from many privileges associated with whiteness—including using white Jim Crow accommodations. It argues that the South was best characterized as having a black/not-black racial order rather than the commonly held assumption of a black and white binary. My project emphasizes the permeable nature of whiteness and the centrality of blackness in defining whiteness. This project also illuminates how Latino/as, Jews, and Italians came to the South and learned how to distance themselves from blackness in order to gain access to white privileges.




Photo by Yehimi Cambrón

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