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Old John Publishing

Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900-1980: Volume One: History and Contributions

Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900-1980: Volume One: History and Contributions

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The two volumes in this set present stories of struggle, survival, and joy in the Latino community of one Colorado county between 1900 and 1980. It is impossible to read this study without being struck by the parallels with recent events in the U.S, especially as anti-immigrant political rhetoric escalates. The history of Hispanics in Boulder County refutes that rhetoric by demonstrating the essential contributions made by people from Spanish-speaking backgrounds over the course of four generations in one setting. Living on the far edge of the Southwestern borderlands, Latinos and Latinas in Boulder County not only provided the labor that underlay much of the county's economic development, they brought a rich culture, religious faith, strong families, and great personal dignity. Early newcomers struggled against many forms of discrimination: threats of violence from the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, deportations to Mexico in the 1930s, segregated seating in churches and movie theaters, and "White Trade Only" signs in local businesses until the late 1950s. Later Latinos--veterans, the children and grandchildren of previous families and new immigrants--fought together against racism, especially during the Chicano movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The challenges they faced make the Latino ethic of hard work, commitment to their families, and determination to educate their children all the more impressive.

This richly-illustrated account invites comparison with Latino communities elsewhere, for the book focuses on three towns with very different features: Longmont, a center of food production and processing; Lafayette, a small coal mining community; and Boulder, based on commerce and the University of Colorado. The study first traces early immigration to Boulder County from Mexico and New Mexico between 1900 and 1940 and details the work done by Hispanics, primarily in sugar beet fields and coal mines. One chapter describes the many conflicts between Hispanics and Anglos in those same years, including attacks on labor unions. For the period between 1940 and 1965, the book addresses changes in employment patterns, U.S. military service by Latinos, and early challenges to racism. The final two chapters examine Chicano activism during the later 1960s and 1970s. Though dealing mainly with local people, they talk also about Chicano students at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the car bombings that killed six of them in 1974. The book ends with the shooting deaths of two young unarmed Latinos at the hands of the Longmont police in 1980.

Whereas Latinos are virtually invisible in previous histories of Boulder County and in the curriculum of local schools, this study brings their experiences to life. It uses compelling oral histories and written biographies, as well as photographs, film, and other materials assembled in 2013-2014 by 10 student-interns and 80 community volunteers with the Boulder County Latino History Project (BCLHP). Rare quantitative material extracted from previously unused sources is also presented. Together, these materials paint an unusually vivid picture of Latino contributions and struggles.

This study is ideally suited for use in school or college classes. Nearly all of the primary sources are available online and hundreds of URLs are provided, allowing students to view the raw material that underlies the historical account. A special section of the BCLHP's website ( is for educators, containing Primary Source Sets, Lesson Plans, short clips from interviews and films, and other instructional materials. The nine quantitative appendices are also useful teaching tools.

Volume II in this set, Lives and Legacies, discusses social, cultural, religious, and educational patterns among Boulder County's Latinos over the same time-span.

Author: Marjorie Keniston McIntosh
Publisher: Old John Publishing
Published: 03/01/2016
Pages: 332
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 1.35lbs
Size: 9.00h x 6.00w x 0.75d
ISBN: 9780986387333

About the Author
McIntosh, Marjorie Keniston: - Marjorie K. McIntosh retired as a Distinguished Professor after teaching History for 28 years at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Since 1986, she has published eight books, five of which won prizes or special recognition, and received numerous teaching and service awards. Her publications include studies of rural communities, small towns, social regulation, women's work, and poor relief in England, 1300-1600. More recently, while serving as a visiting professor in Uganda and Nigeria, she did research and published studies with an African colleague about women in those countries; she helped one institution set up a regionally focused local history project. After mobilizing support for creation of the Boulder County Latino History Project and making the 1,600 sources it assembled available for use on its website, she is now engaged with the BCLHP's work with K-12 teachers. She serves also as the advisor for a project to document and describe the impressive history of Latino civil rights activity in the little town of Center in Colorado's San Luis Valley.

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