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Mexico in the Midwest? Making the Borderlands Meaningful to Students


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24 September 2010 presentation at the annual meeting of the Missouri/Oklahoma Councils of History Education, Springfield, MO

24 September 2010 presentation at the annual meeting of the Missouri/Oklahoma Councils of History Education, Springfield, MO

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  • U.S. immigration officials noted that the poor and the sick constituted most of the Mexicans fleeing north. In 1914, during the strongest flurry of fighting in the revolution, the upper class of Mexico began to immigrate in big numbers as well.
  • Note migration not immigration
  • When the U.S. entered World War II, it turned to Mexico to address wartime labor shortages.
  • U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program (Border 2012) is a collaboration between the United States and Mexico to improve the environment and protect the health of the nearly 12 million people living along the border. The bi-national program focuses on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and ensuring emergency preparedness along the U.S.-Mexico border. US-Mexico Border 2012:
  • Transcript

    • 1. Mexico in the Midwest? Making the Borderlands Meaningful to Students
      Borderlands: Regional Encounters and Forgotten Histories
      Joint Conference of the Missouri and Oklahoma Council for History Education
      24-25 September 2010, Springfield, Missouri
    • 2. Overview
      Explore Mexican and Mexican-American migration northward to the Midwest
      Explore tools to help students understand that the Borderlands do impact them
      Classroom-ready handouts
      Online presentation slides
    • 3. Migration
      Mexican migration
      Major area of contention for US-bilateral relations since 1900s
      Shared interests in promoting migratory flows
      Today, US immigration legislation has become more restrictive
      Reflects concern for high level of Mexican immigration
      Nevertheless, Mexico continues to be the leading country of origin for migrant workers
      Legal and
    • 4. Migration (cont’d)
      Mexico cannot be ignored
      Share the same 2,000 mile border
      Closer proximity=domestic events affect one another
      Mexico is the second largest US trading partner
    • 5. Migration – 19th century
      Hispanic Americans made up a significant number of workers
      mining industries
      Especially in southwestern U.S.
      led to the growth of communities throughout region
      Added to existing Hispanic populations in SW
    • 6. Migration – 19th century - Railroads
      Railroad industry
      Employment needs brought more workers from remote parts of Mexico
      New systems integrated the border regions of the United States and Mexico.
    • 7. Migration – 20th century
      Railroad also led to the economic development of SW US
      drawing Mexican immigrants in large numbers into agriculture
      Early 20th century
      Established a pattern that continued thereafter
      Established by primarily male Mexican immigrants
      Railroad employment took them further into the US
      early 20th century
      Kansas City
    • 8. Migration - Mexican Revolution
      1910 - Mexican Revolution began
      20th Century’s first modern social revolution,
      destined to change Mexico’s society and economy
      flood of Mexican immigrants into the US
      Choices were simple for Mexicans who opposed the fighting:
      hide away
      leave the country
    • 9. Migration – Mexican Revolution (cont’d)
      Many of the Mexican citizens chose to head north
      the turmoil of the war
      the danger
      the economic catastrophe
      social chaos surrounding the revolution
    • 10. Migration – Mexican Revolution (cont’d)
      Some revolutionaries fled to the United States
      to plot further incursions into Mexico
      Kansas City a prime example
    • 11. Migration – Mexican Revolution (cont’d)
      Over 890,000 legal Mexican immigrants (1910-1920)
      The Revolution had created a state of turmoil to the south
      Mexicans sought the peace of the north
      Railroads hired a bulk of the Mexicans
      1st mostly poor and sick came
      Then upper class
    • 12. Migration – World War I
      Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants also moved north in large numbers during WWI
      San Francisco Bay area
      steel and auto industries
      Others began migrating from South Texas to work in cotton fields
      elsewhere in Texas
    • 13. Migration – Great Depression
      U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service adopted a policy of repatriation
      deported more than 250,000 Mexicans
      Texas used Rangers to forcibly evict Mexicans who refused to accept voluntary repatriation
      Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan paid for special trains to take Mexicans to the border
    • 14. Migration – World War II
      Bracero Program initiated in August 1942
      allowed importation of temporary contract laborers from Mexico
      Over the following two decades, more than 4 million Mexican farm-workers arrived in the U.S. under this guest worker program,
      most of them destined for the cotton-fields and orchards of California and the Pacific Northwest
      and the ranches and sugar beet farms of the Midwest.
    • 15. Migration – World War II (cont’d)
      At its height, over 437,000 guest-workers entered the U.S. annually
      discontinued in 1964
      invention of a mechanical cotton harvester reduced labor needs
      Scandals over “slave labor”
    • 16. Migration – Post-World War II
      The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965
      set strict quotas on the number of persons who could legally enter the U.S. from Latin American nations
      most new Mexican migration to the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s was temporary and short-term.
    • 17. Migration - 1970s - present
      Beginning in significant numbers in the 1970s, Mexican immigrants have moved in large numbers to the Midwest U.S.
      attracted by jobs in the packinghouse industry
    • 18. Migration – 1980s
      Since the 1980s, Mexican migration has increased dramatically
      Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
      granted amnesty to illegal immigrants who had resided in the U.S. before 1982
      while imposing penalties on employers who hired illegal immigrants.
      Several factors led to an increase in Mexican immigration to the U.S.
      The Latin American Debt Crisis of the 1980s led to high rates of unemployment in Mexico
      destroyed the savings of a large portion of the middle-class
    • 19. Migration – 1990s
      1991 - Mexican president Salinas dismantled the communally-owned ejidos
      one of the most important legacies of the Mexican Revolution
      Distributed land ownership
      1994 – NAFTA
      brought a flood of subsidized U.S. corn into the Mexican market,
      drove down grain prices
      Forced hundreds of thousands of people from rural areas to migrate in search of better economic opportunities.
    • 20. Migration – 2000s
      The 2000 Census showed that the foreign-born population of the U.S. increased by 11.3 million people in the 1990s
      and Mexican immigrants accounted for 43% of that growth.
      The region which had the fastest-growing immigrant population was the Southeast
      Construction, migrant agricultural laborers, textile mills
      Chicken processing plants.
      Latino populations of GA, NC, SC, and Arkansas increased between 300 and 400 per cent from 1990 to 2000.
      Also impacted SW Missouri
    • 21. Common Core State Standards
      Both Missouri and Oklahoma have adopted (2010)
      OK PASS Standards – audience query
    • 22. Border – Mexico and the United States
    • 23. Another View of the Border
    • 24. US-Mexico Border 2012 (EPA)
    • 25. Then and Now (1980 / 2010)
    • 26. Census Quick Facts
    • 27. Immigration Explorer (NYT)
    • 28. Visualizations (Many Eyes)
      Students can create their own visualizations on this site
      Site data sets
      Upload data sets
    • 29. Diversity in the Classroom
    • 30. Remade in America (NYT)
    • 31. Census Atlas: Race and Hispanic Origin
    • 32. Spanish’s Gifts to English
    • 33. What Makes Us Americans:
    • 34. Additional Information
      Kelly A. Woestman
      Assistant Chair and Professor of History – Pittsburg (KS) State University
      A copy of this presentation will be posted here