“Strangers No Longer: Latino Belonging and Faith in 20th Century Wisconsin traces the history of religiosity, hospitality, and sanctuary within Latino communities in the U.S. Midwest. ”
Strangers No Longer: Latino Belonging and Faith in 20th Century Wisconsin explores the relationship between religiosity, migration, the ethic of hospitality, and movements for social and economic justice in the twentieth century Midwest. It reveals how Latinos of diverse national and class backgrounds grappled with the varied reception they received in their new Midwestern homes and turned to their faith and religious institutions to fashion new identities, combat discrimination, and fight for economic rights. Through an analysis of parish records, oral histories, and the archives of federal, state, and community agencies, this study demonstrates how churches became crucial for Latinos navigating hospitable and inhospitable environments. What began in the late 1920s as a project to create a mission chapel for a fledgling Mexican community matured into aid programs for Mexican and Puerto Rican migrant workers in the 1950s, struggles for economic justice through the Chicano and Young Lords movements of the 1960s, and interfaith efforts to support Central American refugees through the sanctuary movement in the 1980s. Understanding the faith and political pursuits of Latinos in Wisconsin not only deepens our understanding of immigrant settlement throughout the Midwest, but also offers necessary insight how immigrant and migrant communities define belonging, political mobilization, and religiosity across national and transnational boundaries.