This essay blends the biographies of three Latinas — Luisa Capetillo, Luisa Moreno, and Viridiana Martínez — who combated social and economic injustice in the US South. By uniting the lives of these women, who lived during distinct eras and never physically met, this piece illustrates that neither the history nor the presence of Latinas/os is new to the region and that many of the challenges present-day activists face are similar to the injustices Latinas and Latinos fought in the early twentieth century. It argues that to fully understand the region, including its complicated histories of race, gender, and politics, scholars must join the narratives of Latinas/os who immigrated to southern states during earlier eras with the stories of recent arrivals.
A Not-So-Nuevo Past: Latina Histories in the US South
SARAH MCNAMARA is an assistant professor of History at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on Latina/x/o, women and gender, and labor histories in the modern United States. McNamara is working on her manuscript, “From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930–1963.”
Sarah McNamara; A Not-So-Nuevo Past: Latina Histories in the US South. Labor 1 September 2019; 16 (3): 73–78. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7569825
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