Event—Public Programming

Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City


Listen to a recording of this program.

Join us as Andrew Sandoval-Strausz discusses how Latino immigrants revitalized the nation’s cities after decades of disinvestment and white flight thirty years ago, when most people were ready to give up on American cities.

We are commonly told that a “creative class” of young professionals revived a moribund urban America in the 1990s and 2000s. But this stunning reversal owes much more to another, far less visible group: Latino and Latina newcomers. In this new book, Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City, award-winning historian A. K. Sandoval-Strausz reveals this history by focusing on two barrios: Chicago’s Little Village and Dallas’s Oak Cliff. Both neighborhoods lost residents and jobs for decades, before Latin American immigration turned them around beginning in the 1970s. As Sandoval-Strausz shows, Latinos made cities dynamic, stable, and safe by purchasing homes, opening businesses, and reviving street life. Barrio America uses vivid oral histories and detailed statistics to demonstrate how the great Latino migrations transformed America for the better.

Following his talk, Professor Sandoval-Strausz will sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase in the Newberry’s Rosenberg Bookshop.

Andrew Sandoval-Strausz is Associate Professor of History at Penn State. He teaches courses in Latino studies, urban history, spatial theory, sociability, and immigration. He is a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar and a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

This programs is sponsored by Next Chapter. Donors between the ages of 21 and 45 are invited to support the Newberry through membership in Next Chapter, helping us grow a new generation of donors and supporting our efforts to share the forgotten or marginalized voices of history. Learn more about Next Chapter.

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.