The current iteration of “Mapping the Mexican Midwest” has emerged from research related to my in-progress manuscript, Mexican Corridors: Migration and Community Formation in the Lower Midwest, 1900 to 1950. In Mexican Corridors, I analyze how Mexican migrants connected urban and rural areas through labor, sociocultural, and political networks to create a regional community. Mexican migrants’ social, economic, and political worlds did not exist solely in one neighborhood or one city. Their worlds overlapped municipal, state, and even national boundaries. Visitors to “Mapping the Mexican Midwest” can currently learn where Mexican migrants established communities in the Lower Midwest and some of their key community institutions: Churches and Consular Organizations.

Current visualizations are not meant to be definitive or exhaustive, but a partial representation of vibrant ethnic Mexican communities throughout the region. This project will be updated with additional information, data points, and visualizations to more extensively map the sociocultural and transnational elements of Mexican community formation in the Lower Midwest. In doing so, “Mapping the Mexican Midwest” makes clear the importance of mobility to community formation, while emphasizing to the public that dynamic Latinx communities have long viewed the Midwest as their home. In making this site available to the public, I hope it will be a tool for K-12 and college classrooms, as well as community organizations who want to tell stories that center migrants and their role as transnational actors.

In the coming months, I will be adding migration routes and networks to the site, both as overlays on the existing map and as separate visualizations to explore. Users will be able to see how migrants moved through the region for work and leisure, such as traveling for celebrations of Mexican Independence Day or viewing Mexican films in eastern Kansas. They will also see how priests and consuls reinforced migrant regional connections by traveling to the many agricultural and urban communities that dotted the Lower Midwest during the first half of the twentieth century.

“Mapping the Mexican Midwest” was created by historian Bryan Winston. I have written articles about early twentieth-century Mexican communities in Nebraska and Missouri.

The map was built using leaflet.js and with the assistance of James Adams.

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