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Voices from the Nueva Frontera

Latino Immigration in Dalton, Georgia

Donald E. Davis, Thomas M. Deaton, David P. Boyle, and Jo-Anne Schick

Publication Year: 2009

The Dalton-Whitfield County area of Georgia has one of the highest concentrations of Latino residents in the southeastern United States. In 2006, a Washington Post article referred to the carpet-manufacturing city of Dalton as a “U.S. border town,” even though the community lies more than twelve hundred miles from Mexico. Voices from the Nueva Frontera explores this phenomenon, providing an in-depth picture of Latino immigration and dispersal in rural America along with a framework for understanding the economic integration of the South with Latin America. Voices from the Nueva Frontera sheds new light on the often invisible changes that have transformed this north Georgia town over the last thirty years. The book's contributors explore the changes to labor markets and educational, religious, and social organizations and show that Dalton provides a largely successful example of a community that has provided a home to a newly arriving immigrant work force. While debates about immigration have raged in the public spotlight in recent years, some of the most important voices-those of the immigrants themselves-have been nearly unheard. In this pathbreaking book, therefore, each chapter opens with an interview of a worker, student, teacher, or other professional involved in the immigrant experience. These narratives add human faces to the realities of dramatic change occurring in rural industrial towns. Sure to spark lively discussion in the classroom and beyond, Voices from the Nueva Frontera gives readers a look at individual human stories and provides much-needed documentation for what might be the most important social change in recent southern history.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press

Title and Copyright Pages

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii

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Editors’ Note

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pp. ix-x

The nine chapters that follow represent the authors’ faithful attempts at reconstructing the reality of Latinos living in the Dalton–Whitfield County, Georgia, area. Much of the data come from the Latino residents themselves, all of whom were interviewed between 2003 and 2008. ...

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pp. xi-xviii

Known internationally as the “Carpet Capital of the World,” Dalton, Georgia, has been the subject of numerous documentaries, national news stories, and several scholarly books, including a history of Shaw Industries, the largest carpet manufacturer in the United States.1 ...

Part I: Frontera Economics

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Chapter 1: The Face of Carpet

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pp. 3-22

Eighty percent of the tufted carpet produced in the United States is supplied by mills within a sixty-five-mile radius of Dalton, Georgia, a city that bills itself as the “Carpet Capital of the World.” In 2006, manufacturers produced more than $14.2 billion dollars of wholesale carpet,...

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Chapter 2: The Economic Impact

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pp. 23-39

To say that the Latino population has had a significant impact on Dalton and the larger Whitfield County community would be an understatement. As noted in chapter 1, the Latino population has increased dramatically over the past two decades, creating numerous economic impacts on both the city and county. ...

Part II: Frontera Culture

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Chapter 3: The Culture of the Capital de las Alfombras

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pp. 43-60

For more than two decades, a large section of northeast Dalton, Georgia, has been referred to as “Little Mexico” by the Anglo population, due obviously to the large presence of Latinos in that part of the city. From the merengue-mixed salsa rhythms heard from the loudspeakers of Walnut Avenue’s Disco Latin...

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Chapter 4: The Religious Response

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pp. 61-79

Martin Luther King Jr. once remarked that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. However, in the twenty-first century, congregations are segregated by a great deal more than race, including nearly every imaginable demographic marker, among them age, ethnicity, income, and political...

Part III: Frontera Education

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Chapter 5: The Public School Response

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pp. 83-105

The growth in the number of Latino children in the public school systems of Dalton and Whitfield County during the past two decades can be described as nothing less than explosive (see chart). In the Dalton case, the numbers really do tell the story. ...

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Chapter 6: The Georgia Project

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pp. 107-124

In December 1997, the most recent edition of the Kiplinger Washington Letter arrived in the offices of a prominent Dalton attorney. The headline read, “Changes in our population mix will affect you and your business over the next few decades.”1 ...

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Chapter 7: The State College

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pp. 125-142

Dalton State College (DSC) is located in northwest Georgia in a rapidly growing region that is also at the center of the greatest concentration of carpet production in the world. Presently, it is only one of two comprehensive institutions in the University System of Georgia that offers both...

Part IV: Frontera Problems

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Chapter 8: The Social Problems

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pp. 145-160

In the year 2000, David L. Kirp, a University of California professor of public policy, stated that Dalton, Georgia, was a “window on America’s demographic future.” Dalton’s Latino population had risen fivefold since 1990, he added, giving it among the fastest rates of Latino population...

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Chapter 9: The Social Work Agenda

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pp. 161-177

The profession of social work is concerned with the relationship between people and their environments, that is, how people influence a particular environment and how that same environment affects people. The approach to looking at individuals and their environments...

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Conclusion: Lessons of the Nueva Frontera

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pp. 179-183

During the last two decades of the twentieth century, thousands of Latinos came to Dalton for the plentiful jobs in the carpet industry. The majority of these individuals appeared very rapidly, however, during a ten-year period beginning in the late 1980s. ...


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pp. 185-186

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 187-189

E-ISBN-13: 9781572336841
E-ISBN-10: 1572336846
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572336537
Print-ISBN-10: 1572336536

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: 9 halftones, 1 map
Publication Year: 2009