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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 9/13/2010
  • Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Pr

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Company town. Blighted community. Beloved home. Nestled on the banks of the Rio Grande, at the heart of a railroad, mining, and smelting empire, Smeltertown--La Esmelda, as its residents called it--was home to generations of ethnic Mexicans who labored at the American Smelting and Refining Company in El Paso, Texas. Using newspapers, personal archives, photographs, employee records, parish newsletters, and interviews with former residents, including her own relatives, Monica Perales unearths the history of this forgotten community. Spanning almost a century,Smeltertowntraces the birth, growth, and ultimate demise of a working class community in the largest U.S. city on the Mexican border and places ethnic Mexicans at the center of transnational capitalism and the making of the urban West. Perales shows that Smeltertown was composed of multiple real and imagined social worlds created by the company, the church, the schools, and the residents themselves. Within these dynamic social worlds, residents forged permanence and meaning in the shadow of the smelterrs"s giant smokestacks.Smeltertownprovides insight into how people and places invent and reinvent themselves and illuminates a vibrant community grappling with its own sense of itself and its place in history and collective memory.

Author Biography

Monica Perales is assistant professor of history at the University of Houston.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Making Places
Making a Border Cityp. 21
Creating Smeltertownp. 57
Making Identities
We're Just Smelter Peoplep. 97
We Were One Hundred Percent Mexicanp. 149
She Was Very Americanp. 185
Remembering Smeltertown
The Demise of Smeltertownp. 225
Epilogue Finding Smeltertownp. 261
Notesp. 279
Indexp. 319
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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