Borderlands and Latino Studies Seminar: Luis H. Moreno, Michigan State University, and Tim Bowman, Southern Methodist University

Borderlands and Latino Studies Seminar
Friday, October 22, 2010

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.

“The Growers Strike Back: The Bracero Program in Ventura County, 1942-1964
Luis H. Moreno, Michigan State University

The Ventura County Citrus Strike of 1941 left political and social markers on the landscape of the county, especially Oxnard, California. For the Ventura County Lemon Growers it certified how powerful they were in defending themselves against their workers, the majority being Mexicans. The growers supported the Bracero Program on the grounds that it would decease union organizing and resistance from Mexican workers. This paper examines the marginalization of Mexican workers under the Bracero Program between 1942 and 1964. In addition, it focuses on Ventura County, the home of one of the largest Bracero Program camp in the United States.

“Imagining a New Future: Lower Rio Grande Valley Boosters and the New Borderlands Society, 1910-1930
Tim Bowman, Southern Methodist University

Tim Bowman’s essay examines arguments that land boosters used to persuade farmers from the U.S. Midwest to relocate to the South Texas borderlands in the early twentieth century. Boosters not only presented the region’s future as one in which white commercial farmers would prosper in a colonized space on Mexico’s doorstep, but they also characterized South Texas Mexicans as a racialized labor force for the potential new arrivals. Bowman argues that understanding how Anglo farmers negotiated their new identities as colonizers holds the key to explaining the abject misery under which countless South Texas Mexicans toiled for the remainder of the twentieth century.

Commentator: Juan Mora-Torres, DePaul University