Segregation and New Arrivals, 1898–1960

  • Victoria-María MacDonald


After 1900, while students in newly colonized Puerto Rico were being Americanized on their island or sent to the United States for advanced training, children of Mexican descent in the Southwest United States experienced increasing segregation. Between 1898 and 1960, economic, political, and social turmoil in Latinos’ home countries, along with the demand for labor in the United States, contributed to increasing immigration to the United States, particularly in the urban areas of the Northeast, midwestern cities such as Chicago, and the Southwest. Specifically, factors such as the 1910 Mexican Revolution, the displacement of thousands of Puerto Rican agricultural workers from their farms as a result of the U.S. government and industry’s influence in narrowing the island to a one-crop economy, and the demand for railroad and seasonal agricultural workers contributed to a continuing flow of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans to the United States.2 The Great Depression of the 1930s curbed immigration, particularly when the U.S. government began a campaign to repatriate Mexicans in order to permit more jobs for Americans. Historians have estimated that between one-third and one-half of the Mexican population in the United States left during the depression, many involuntarily.3


Public School School District Migrant Child Seventh Grade Orange County 
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© Victoria-María MacDonald 2004

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  • Victoria-María MacDonald

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