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Michigan State University

Latino American Studies Research Guide: Primary Sources

Online Resources

Chicana Por Mi Raza.  The Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Project and Archive was created under the supervision of professor María Cotera and Linda Garcia Merchant in collaboration with The Institute for Computing in Humanities Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. This project was made possible through the generous financial support of the University of Michigan and the many women who shared their time, their memories, and their artifacts.

Farmworker Movement Documentation Project : Cesar Chavez, The Farmworker Movement: 1962-1993. Primary source accounts: photographs, oral histories, videos, essays and historical documents from the United Farm Worker Delano Grape Strikers and the UFW Volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement.  This site is now being presented and preserved by The Library, University of California San Diego. As of April 10, 2014, there is still some site content and functionality that is being migrated from its original location. We anticipate this work to be completed in the next few months.

Historias, a subsection of StoryCorps, provides the recorded stories of Latinos around the country.

Mexican Labor and World War II: The Bracero Program.  .  Beginning in World War II, the Bracero Program brought Mexican laborers to the United States to remedy wartime production shortages. The program (which derived its name from the Spanish word for a manual laborer, “bracero”) continued until 1964, with braceros working mainly in agricultural areas in the Southwest and on the West Coast. Braceros worked long hours for low wages in difficult jobs that separated them from their families. In the United States, they also faced discrimination and became the subject of national labor debates. Get new insight into the Bracero Program and its workers through this collection of era photographs, documents, and oral history interviews.   Time period : The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)

Oral History Interviews (Hope College/Holland Joint Archives).. An extensive collection of oral history transcripts covering a variety of events, ethnic groups, and citizens of Holland, Michigan. Includes sections on members of the Hispanic community (1990), Dutch immigrants (1992), Hispanic residents (1993), and Asian and African American Residents (1994).

Puerto Rican Migration to the US. Online compilation courtesy of the Digital Public Library of America.  Puerto Rican migration to the United States exploded in the decades following World War II. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Rican men, women, and families arrived in US cities and towns, and Puerto Rican communities grew dramatically in places like Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Springfield, Massachusetts, and Newark, New Jersey. Eighty-five percent of Puerto Rican migrants during this time settled in New York City, which had included a sizeable Puerto Rican population since since the 1910s.... For much of the early twentieth century, Puerto Rico was an agrarian society that struggled with high unemployment rates and poverty. With the advent of affordable air travel and a boom in industrial jobs in the United States following World War II, many Puerto Ricans moved to the US in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Operation Bootstrap—a series of state-sponsored programs by the US and Puerto Rican governments in the 1940s and ’50s to urbanize, modernize, and industrialize Puerto Rico’s economy through investment and job creation by US companies—also encouraged Puerto Rican migration. As the economy of Puerto Rico shifted from agriculture to industry, Operation Bootstrap included provisions for farm workers to be transported from Puerto Rico to American farms.... Puerto Ricans had the freedom to travel to the United States as citizens but, like immigrants from a foreign country, they faced challenges of adapting to new cultural, social, and economic surroundings. In New York and other cities, Puerto Rican men and women were employed in a range of industries but also encountered language barriers and discrimination based on race and ethnicity. Puerto Rican communities had an important cultural impact on New York and other places across the country by introducing new styles of music and art. Puerto Rican migration to the US slowed during the economic downturn of the 1970s. Today, however, Puerto Rican communities continue to exist across the United States. In recent years, Puerto Rican migration to the US, especially Florida, has increased again in response to the island’s economic crisis and severe debt.    Time period: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s).

The United Farm Workers and the Delano Grape Strike. Online compilation courtesy of On September 8, 1965, Filipino farm workers organized as the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC) decided to strike against grape growers in Delano, California, to protest years of poor pay and working conditions. The Delano Grape Strike grew from a long history of labor organizing and protest by Filipino workers in agriculture and canning on the West Coast. AWOC leaders asked the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), a mostly Latino farm workers union led by Cesar Chavez, to join their strike. The Delano Grape Strike was the first major collaboration between Filipino and Mexican workers, who had traditionally been recruited to work during the other group’s protest actions. In August 1966, the two organizations merged to form the United Farm Workers (UFW), a union committed to nonviolent protest that sought to organize migrant farm laborers to improve their wages, education, housing, and legal protections....  The protest that began in the fields in Delano grew into a broader boycott that asked for help from consumers in urban areas. By 1970, the UFW grape boycott was a success. Table grape growers signed their first union contracts, granting workers better pay, benefits, and protections. In the decades that followed, Chavez and the UFW continued to use nonviolent strikes, boycotts, marches, and fasts to help farm workers stand up for their rights and gather support from ordinary Americans to aid them in their efforts. This primary source set uses documents, photographs, and promotional materials to explore the events of the Delano Grape Strike and the formation of the United Farm Workers.  Time period: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s).

Microfilm Resources

Office files of the President of the United Farm Workers of America [microform] / [from the farm worker collections at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University]  29144 Microfilm. Collection includes: executive correspondence and meeting minutes, as well organizer's reports from the field, testimony and speeches, boycott flyers, letters from supporters and autograph seekers, songs, and prayers, communications between Chavez and his organizers, the Kennedy's, the Church hierarchy, civil rights leaders, union leaders, and Chicano militants.  To faciliate use, consult An index to the microfilm edition of Collections of the United Farm Workers of America, Series 1, Office files of the President of the United Farm Workers of America : HD 6515 .A292 U544 2010 pt.1-3

Papers of the United Farm Workers of America Work Department, 1969-1975 [microform].  29149 Microfilm  Correspondence, clippings, memoranda, reports, financial papers, speeches, pamphlets, minutes, and other materials relating to the United Farm Workers Work Department.  Note : Significant parts are in Spanish.  To facilitate use, consult Accompanied by, An Index to the Microfilm Edition of.....Series 2: Papers of the United Farm Workers of America Work Department 1969-1975, under call no.: HD 6515 .A292 U546 2011

Collections of the United Farm Workers of America. Series 3, Papers of the United Farm Workers Administration Department, 1960-1975 [microform].  29167 Microfilm  Collection includes: executive correspondence and meeting minutes, as well organizer's reports from the field, testimony and speeches, boycott flyers, letters from supporters and autograph seekers, songs, and prayers, communications between Chavez and his organizers, the Kennedy's, the Church hierarchy, civil rights leaders, union leaders, and Chicano militants.  Note : Significant parts of the collection are in Spanish.

National Farm Workers Association records, 1960-1967 [microform]  29146 Microfilm  Correspondence, clippings, memoranda, reports, financial papers, speeches, pamphlets, minutes, and other materials relating to the National Farm Workers Association.  To facilitate use, consult An index to the microfilm edition of papers of the National Farm Workers Association, 1960-1967: HD 6515 .A292 N49 2009.

Papers of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, 1959-1966 [microform].  29145 Microfilm  Microfilmed from collections at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State UniversityTo facilitate use, consult An index to the microfilm edition of Collections of the United Farm Workers of America. Papers of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, 1959-1966 : HD 6515 .A292 A53 2009

Papers of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, 1959-1970 [microform]  29150 Microfilm Microfilmed from collections at the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.  To facilitate use, consult An index to the microfilm edition of Collections of the United Farm Workers of America, Papers of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee : HD 6515 .A292 A53 2010

Subject Guide

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