Like other industrial cities in the postwar period, Chicago underwent the dramatic population shifts that radically changed the complexion of the urban north. As African American populations grew and white communities declined throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans migrated to the city, adding a complex layer to local racial dynamics.
Brown in the Windy Cityis the first history to examine the migration and settlement of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in the postwar era. Here, Lilia Fernandez reveals how the two populations arrived in Chicago in the midst of tremendous social and economic change and, in the midst of declining industrial employment and massive urban renewal projects, managed to carve out a geographic and racial place in one of America’s great cities. Over the course of these three decades, through their experiences in the city’s central neighborhoods, Fernández demonstrates how Mexicans and Puerto Ricans collectively articulated a distinct racial position in Chicago, one that was flexible and fluid, neither black nor white.