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Mexican-Americans in Minnesota: Overview

Best Bets

Mexicans in Minnesota, by Dionicio Valdes. 
MNHS call number: Reading Room F615.M5 V35 2005, also available for purchase

North for the Harvest: Mexican Workers, Growers, and the Sugar Beet Industry, by Jim Norris.
MNHS call number: Reading Room HD9109.A42 N67 2009, also available for purchase.  

Mexican American Community in St. Paul Collections, 1918-1977
Papers of a number of Mexican American religious, educational, and community organizations.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

La voz newspaper
MNHS call number: Microfilm 303

Mexican-American Oral History Project
MNHS call numberDigital Audio and Transcripts



Mexicans were initially drawn to Minnesota by the promise of work.  Political turmoil in Mexico and the increased demand for labor caused by World War I were some of the reasons that they came. Early on, most Mexican immigrants moved to the Red River and Minnesota River valleys and were engaged in agricultural labor, especially in harvesting sugar beets.

As the new immigrants moved from being seasonal workers to permanent residents, a Mexican- American community took shape on the west side of St. Paul.  The years of the great depression were a difficult time for Minnesota's Mexican-American communities.  Job shortages and language barriers made work hard to find.  

Through the second half of the 20th century, the West Side community flourished. Community pillars like Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church and Neighborhood House supported the residents. Today, vibrant Mexican-American communities exist in both Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as many areas outside the Twin Cities.  

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Katie Jean Davey
Reference Librarian

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
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