Migrations from Central America and Mexico to the United States escalated through the second half of the twentieth century. The challenges that drove so many to leave rural communities and urban barrios to take the risks of the northward trek varied over time and across diverse regions. Still, underlying everything was a fundamental pressure: soaring population growth mixed with new ways of production that fed rising numbers—while eliminating sustaining employment from agriculture and cutting it in industry, too. In this presentation, Georgetown professor John Tutino shared how life-sustaining medicines came with life-sustaining cultivation that generated social marginality and sent soaring numbers to nearby cities, and in time to the United States—where migrants found hard work and basic sustenance at the price of lives of marginality without rights.
This event was hosted by the Georgetown College Americas Forum and co-sponsored by the Georgetown Americas Institute.
John Tutino is professor of history and international affairs and director of the Georgetown College Americas Forum at Georgetown University. He studies the long-term history of Mexican communities in the context of global capitalism. His work includes The Mexican Heartland: How Communities Made Capitalism, a Nation, and World History, 1500-2000 (2018) and two edited volumes on Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States (2012) and New World Cities: Challenges of Urbanization and Globalization in the Americas (2019).
Marcella Hardin (moderator) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Georgetown University and the program coordinator for the Georgetown College Americas Forum.