Latinas and Latinos have lived, worked, struggled, organized, and thrived in
the United States for hundreds of years. Members of separate and distinct
communities of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, and Central
and South Americans, Latina/os also have a shared and common history. The
term “Latina/o” recognizes this shared Latina/o past as well as the primary
place of Latinas (women of Latina/o descent) in Latina/o history.
I have taught a Latina/o history course for more than a decade at Oberlin
College, and my students have contributed a great deal to this book with
their questions and critiques of the class. I have also been fortunate to work
with Erin Ryan and Allison Nadeau at ABC-CLIO and Nicholle Robertson at
BookComp. I owe a special thanks to Marian Perales at ABC-CLIO, who
helped inspire this revised version. Lilia Fernandez and Adrian Burgos Jr.
generously gave of their precious time and wisdom at a critical spot in this
project, and the book has been greatly improved with their help. The Nord
Professorship at Oberlin College also provided important financial support
to this project, and I am grateful for the continued encouragement of my col-
leagues and friends at Oberlin College, in northeastern Ohio, and through-
out the country.
Thanks as well to my brother Ben Mitchell, my niece Estella, and my par-
ents Beatriz and Philip Mitchell as well as the McLaughlin, Orr, and Lozier
families. We are all still grieving the terrible loss of my sister-in-law, Jennifer
Orr. She was an incomparable aunt, a wonderful baker, a fierce fan of Pitts-
burgh and WVU sports (her car’s license plate was Jaromir!), and a loyal
friend and relative. Her death has left an absence in our lives that is still hard
I am most grateful to Beth McLaughlin, Tayo McLaughlin, and Ruby
Mitchell. They have been my constant, much-loved companions throughout
the writing of this book. I would be adrift without them.