explores the transformation of Lawrence,
Massachusetts, into New England's first Latino-majority city. Like
many industrial cities, Lawrence entered a downward economic spiral
in the decades after World War II due to deindustrialization and
suburbanization. The arrival of tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans
and Dominicans in the late twentieth century brought new life to
the struggling city, but settling in Lawrence was fraught with
challenges. Facing hostility from their neighbors, exclusion from
local governance, inadequate city services, and limited job
prospects, Latinos fought and organized for the right to make a
home in the city.
In this book, Llana Barber interweaves the histories of urban
crisis in U.S. cities and imperial migration from Latin America.
Pushed to migrate by political and economic circumstances shaped by
the long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America, poor and
working-class Latinos then had to reckon with the segregation,
joblessness, disinvestment, and profound stigma that plagued U.S.
cities during the crisis era, particularly in the Rust Belt. For
many Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, there was no "American Dream"
awaiting them in Lawrence; instead, Latinos struggled to build
lives for themselves in the ruins of industrial America.