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Puerto Ricans in Illinois

Puerto Ricans in Illinois

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Maura I. Toro-Morn and Ivis Garcia


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
31 illustrations


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About the Book

A community making a home in Illinois
As the first book to document the experiences of Puerto Ricans in the state of Illinois, this inviting book maps the pedacito de patria (little piece of home) that many Puerto Ricans have carved from the bitter hardships faced in Illinois. Authors Maura Toro-Morn and Ivis García illustrate the multiple paradoxes underlying the experience of Puerto Ricans in Illinois: an island people in a heartland state, native-born citizens living an immigrant’s experience, climate refugees in the Midwest. They live a vaivén (coming and going). This volume partially exposes these paradoxes through a narrative of common survival and achievement. Along the proud Paseo Boricua (Puerto Rican Promenade) in Chicago and in smaller cities around the state, Puerto Ricans find and create the means to keep their national identity while contributing to the health and wealth of their adopted state.
From the voices of the people, the authors offer readers an opportunity to learn about the history of Puerto Rico, the migration of Puerto Ricans to Illinois, and the cultural, economic, and political contributions of the Puerto Rican women, men, and families that call Illinois home. In Chicago and across the heartland, Puerto Ricans have negotiated the gap between home and country, mobilized state-wide against the federal government’s virtual abandonment in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. A compelling weave of scholarship summary, archival research, and extensive sociological study including interviews conducted across the state, the book documents just how much many fail to know about a growing and transforming community in Illinois. The stories of Puerto Ricans are here.


Maura Toro-Morn is a professor of sociology at Illinois State University and director of the Latin American and Latino Studies program.
Ivis García, associate professor of landscape architecture and urban planning at Texas A&M University, was the cochair of the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago and a Chicago-based oral historian with Centro at City University of New York.



“An informative, well-documented, and clearly written chronicle of the displacement and resettlement of Puerto Ricans in Illinois, focusing on their community organization and mobilization, social and educational struggles, and cultural and political resilience. Drawing on census data, personal interviews, and ethnographic fieldwork, Puerto Ricans in Illinois makes a noteworthy contribution to Puerto Rican and Latino studies as well as to immigrant and ethnic studies more broadly.”—Jorge Duany, author of Puerto Rico: What Everyone Needs to Know
“In Puerto Ricans in Illinois, Maura I. Toro-Morn and Ivis Garcia have crafted a detailed, comprehensive and accessible account of Puerto Ricans in Illinois. Through the use of archival collections, aggregate data, interviews and focus groups, and a profound sociological analysis the authors bring to life the history, peculiarities, struggles, and contributions of Illinois’s—and the nation’s—second-largest Latino group. There are no better scholars who could bring us this well-crafted book about the Puerto Rican experiences in Illinois.”—Xavier Totti, editor of Centro Journal
“Toro-Morn and García weave the story of Puerto Ricans into the story of the state, showing us where Puerto Ricans cross paths or join with African Americans, Mexicans, and whites in creating communities in Illinois while also providing a valuable glimpse of Puerto Rican populations in smaller cities and towns. This volume presents a rich analysis of the self-organization of Puerto Ricans in multiple spheres as it documents the shifting contours of Puerto Rican belonging and community in the state. Always present are the reverberations of Puerto Rico’s continued status as a U.S. territory in many aspects of Puerto Rican life in Illinois. A terrific new contribution to the study of Latinx in the Midwest!”—Theresa Ann Delgadillo, author of Latina Lives in Milwaukee