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Corazón de DixieMexicanos in the U.S. South since 1910$
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Julie M. Weise

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469624969

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469624969.001.0001

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Mexicano Stories and Rural White Narratives

Mexicano Stories and Rural White Narratives

Creating Pro-immigrant Conservatism in Rural Georgia, 1965–2004

(p.120) Chapter Four Mexicano Stories and Rural White Narratives
Corazón de Dixie

Julie M. Weise

University of North Carolina Press

From the 1960s through the 1990s, millions of Mexican immigrants, Tejanos, and Mexican Americans journeyed through the rural U.S. South as agricultural migrant workers and tens of thousands settled there. Chapter Four argues that Mexicanos of this generation arrived to southern Georgia’s agricultural areas with diminished expectations of citizenship in the Americas’ neoliberal era. Though locals initially treated them as objects of curiosity or hostility, soon influential white employers and church leaders both Catholic and Evangelical framed Mexican migrants’ lifestyles as archetypical examples of upright working poor who merited the opportunity to stay in town, earn wages, attend school, and receive charity despite their foreign accents and racial difference. Mexicanos reciprocated the interest, and did not become involved in labor or political organizing, albeit for their own reasons. In this way, a fragile peace around immigration issues settled over southern Georgia and much of the rural agricultural South through the end of the 1990s, even as farmworker organizing and populist anti-immigrant backlash took hold elsewhere in the country during the same period.

Keywords:   Conservatism, Georgia, Farmworkers, Migrant workers, Mexicans, Mexican Americans, Anti-immigrant, Neoliberalism, Evangelicals, Tejanos

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