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Introduction T he history of Latinos in Michigan is one of cultural diversity, institutional formation, and an ongoing search for leadership in the midst of unique, often intractable circumstances. While facing adversity as rural and urban immigrants, exiles, and citizens, Latinos have contributed culturally, economically, and socially to many important developments in the state’s history. They have coalesced into an internally diverse entity as they have engaged in work, residence, and religion, and this essay probes the interrelationship among the various constituent groups. The  U.S. Census indicates that Latinos now comprise about  percent (,) of Michigan’s population, a  percent increase since  (in comparison, the state’s population as a whole rose only 7 percent in this same time period), spread over much of the state. The proximity of Mexico and the Caribbean—the prime sending areas—and the relatively recent arrival of Latinos set the stage for drama and exhilaration that in its own way rivaled the massive overseas immigration from Europe around the turn of the century.1 Latinos have shared a vision of the American Dream—made all the more difficult by the contemporary challenge of cultural assimilation . The complexity of their local struggles, moreover, reflects farreaching developments on the national stage and suggests the outlines 1 of a common identity. Even the Mexican-origin population (constituting over two-thirds of the present total) has several distinct components . Its presence is greater nationally and regionally than locally; it is generally located throughout the Midwest, whereas the settlement of Puerto Ricans (in the Great Lakes region) and Cubans (primarily urbanites, in Chicago, Cincinnati, and many smaller cities) has happened in more limited areas. While this essay seeks to portray a story that is balanced, geographically and otherwise, developments in the Detroit metropolis have had greater resonance, in that it is the premier urban destination for pioneer migrants and also because it is home to over one-third of the state’s Latin American–origin peoples. David A. Badillo 2 Sources of Latino Immigration to Michigan. ...


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MARC Record
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