An Interview with Llana Barber
University of North Carolina Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Caribbean StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network June 27, 2017 David-James Gonzales
In Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945-2000 (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) Dr. Llana Barber explores the transformation of Lawrence into New England’s first Latina/o-majority city during the second half of the twentieth century. As with other industrial cities throughout the Rust Belt, Lawrence encountered an urban crisis via the processes of deindustrialization, disinvestment, and suburbanization in the decades following World War II. During this period, the city also experienced a continuous influx of imperial migrants from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Interweaving the narratives of urban crisis and Latina/o migration from the Caribbean, Barber examines the experience of Latinas/os in Lawrence through the lenses of imperialism, displacement, and exclusion. Whereas existent scholarship on the urban crisis has primarily focused on the 1960s and 1970s, Latino City pushes this discussion into the 1980s and 1990s, while also illuminating its effects on second tier cities like Lawrence. As she details the similarities and differences between African American and Latina/o experiences during the crisis era, Barber adeptly explains how Latinas/os revitalized Lawrence’s failing social, economic, and political institutions, and in the process, saved the city from the abandonment of white residents and capital.
David-James Gonzales (DJ) has a PhD in History from the University of Southern California. He is a historian of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Civil Rights, and Latina/o identity and politics. His research centers on the intersection of Latina/o civic engagement and politics on the metropolitan development of Orange County, CA throughout the 20th century.