Ten percent of Nebraskans are Latino, part of a statewide community that is more than a century old. At first it was specifically a Mexican and Mexican-American community. The Spring issue of Nebraska History tells the story of the early decades. Then, social workers, local government officials, and intellectuals, while advocating for Americanization classes, used rhetoric about cleanliness and crime to denigrate the social capabilities of ethnic Mexicans. The Great Depression exacerbated economic obstacles for the Mexicans of Nebraska, forcing many to return to Mexico, but did not spell the end of the community.
Above photo: A Mexican woman and her six children, Omaha, August 15, People came seeking work, and like most people they lived near their jobs: the meatpacking district of South Omaha, the neighborhood around the railroad yards of Havelock outside Lincoln, or the farms of Scotts Bluff County. Ethnic Mexicans in Scottsbluff built adobe homes from Nebraskan soil and leftover hay from livestock railroad yards.
Bob Huerta recalled how his father, who migrated from Mexico through Texas and Kansas, began building an adobe home in Scottsbluff in He then completed their home, which still stood inby tearing down the company town shack and repurposing it as a roof for the adobe home.
Photo: Adobe houses in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. From Sara A. Brown and Robie O. Under difficult circumstances, how did ethnic Mexicans get by?
Winston focuses on community formation, the way individuals and families formed groups and institutions that reached across the state. Ethnic Mexicans promoted cultural bonds through monthly dances, religious practice, and sharing food.
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At the same time, ethnic Mexicans wrote the Kansas City Mexican consulate to protest wage theft and to seek aid. The sugar beet industry employed many migrant workers, including Mexicans and Germans from Russia. Some Nebraska Mexican agricultural communities were permanent, with a history as long, if not longer, than that of the Mexican community in Omaha. Ethnic Mexicans settled in the town of Scottsbluff as the thriving sugar beet industry of western Nebraska ensured agricultural employment.
Mexican he of household contracted out acres at a time to work during the harvests. HN RG In the summer, many families from the Omaha community headed west to work in the sugar beet fields, returning to Omaha in the winter.
Pay was low and many families lived in poverty, especially during the Great Depression. It was common to use the effects of poverty as evidence that Mexicans and other immigrants were unfit for citizenship. Library of Congress.
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Home Blog Nebraska's Mexican Communities, Nebraska's Mexican Communities, HN RGPH People came seeking work, and like most people they lived near their jobs: the meatpacking district of South Omaha, the neighborhood around the railroad yards of Havelock outside Lincoln, or the farms of Scotts Bluff County. HN RG In the summer, many families from the Omaha community headed west to work in the sugar beet fields, returning to Omaha in the winter.
LatinosMexican AmericansimmigrationagricultureOmahaScottsbluff. John G. Thomas P.