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Latinx Life in North Carolina: Economy and Labor

General Resources

Just the Facts: Hispanics in Alamance County, 2005 (DVD) 
Second annual symposium, Sister Cities Inc., 2005

Proceedings of the second annual symposium held at Elon University on October 8, 2005. Community agencies and topics represented include: Hispanics and social services in Alamance County; Hispanics and the legal system; Hispanics and the health system; the economic impact of the Hispanic population; and Hispanics and education, including Alamance-Burlington School Systems and Alamance Community College facts.

Student Action with Farmworkers Collection

The Student Action with Farmworkers collection includes material generated by the Into the Fields internship program projects (1999-2002). The documentary fieldwork focuses on farmworkers and their families in North Carolina and South Carolina. The folklife documented includes foodways, traditional dance, art, music, religious beliefs and practices, poetry, storytelling, life stories and experiences, labor camp life, and involvement in the labor movement.

The collection is housed in the Southern Folklife Collection and includes fieldwork documentation, audio tapes, slides, videos, papers analyzing the material collected, and, from 1999-2001, printed publications with articles and photographs highlighting material from projects. The interviews and transcripts are largely in Spanish, with some translation. Fieldwork documentation and analysis includes the fieldworkers' impressions and reactions and are mostly in English. The published material from 2000 and 2001 includes side-by-side text in English and Spanish.

Please see the catalog entry or finding aid for additional information. You can also visit the Student Action with Farmworkers organization website to learn more. 

Agricultural Labor

Nuestras Historias, Nuestros Sueños / Our Stories, Our Dreams
Edited by Alix Lowrey Blair with Student Action with Farmworkers and the Center for Documentary Studies (in Spanish and English)

This slim volume compiles photographs and interviews with Latino farmworkers in North and South Carolina. Interviews were completed and recorded by college students who spent their summers working with community-based organizations and getting to know farmworkers at their site. Students interviewed and created a documentary project about one of the farmworkers they met. The text includes Spanish and English translations placed side-by-side in columns.

Tobacco Capitalism: Growers, Migrant Workers, and the Changing Face of a Global Industry
By Peter Benson

Though Benson's book deals with issues of globalization and the wider tobacco industry, his focus is North Carolina. He examines problematic histories as well as the situation of modern laborers and farmers in North Carolina, using Wilson, NC as a focal point. His work includes extensive interviews with Hispanic migrant laborers, and the book is written from an anthropological perspective. Benson deals with the conflicting themes of guilt and innocence that surround tobacco farming. The volume ends with a helpful index.

Levante: Theater for Social Change 
Student Action with Farmworkers; produced, directed, and edited by Erika Simon, 2005

The Levante Theater Group uses drama to initiate dialogue among farmworkers and the community. In 2004, eight SAF interns performed "Gigantes en los campos" ("Giants in the fields") at six migrant farm labor camps in North Carolina. The play, written by Cara Page and based on real farmworkers interviewed by past SAF interns, is a comic depiction of some of the problems farmworkers face under the H2A contracts that bring them legally from Mexico to work in the U.S. with often-unfulfilled and unknown rights and benefits.

Los Derechos Laborales de los Trabajadores del Campo Contratados H2A en Carolina del Norte
Legal Aid of North Carolina Farmworker Unit, 2005

This publication from Legal Aid of North Carolina is a guide for migrant agricultural laborers under the H2 visa system. Simple lists tell readers how to avoid heat exhaustion, what to do in case of health emergencies, and what kinds of requirements should be followed by their employers in terms of payment and living facilities.

Language and the Migrant Worker Experience in Rural North Carolina Communities
By Jack G. Dale, Susan Andreatta, and Elizabeth Freeman, 2001

This item is a chapter within Latino Workers in the Contemporary South 

Uprooting Injustice: A Report on Working Conditions for North Carolina Farmworkers
By Sandy Smith-Nonini, The Institute for Southern Studies, 1999

This magazine, published by the Institute for Southern Studies, documents some of the deep problems plaguing agricultural and corporate practices that shape the working life of immigrant workers in North Carolina. Articles include photographs and are presented in Spanish and English on opposite pages. A graphic novel depiction and lengthy article discusses corporate policy problems in Mt. Olive, one of the largest pickle manufacturers in the nation. Articles also cover problems with health and sanitation for farmworkers and the lack of government oversight on farms.

The Human Cost of Food: Farmworkers' Lives, Labor, and Advocacy
Edited by Charles D. Thompson, Jr., and Melinda F. Wiggins, 2002

Finding fresh fruits and vegetables is as easy as going to the supermarket for most Americans and Western Europeans - which makes it all too easy to forget that our food is cultivated, harvested, and packaged by farmworkers who labor for less pay, fewer benefits, and under more dangerous conditions than workers in almost any other sector of the world economy. Seeking to end the public's ignorance and improve workers' living and working conditions, this book addresses the major factors that affect farmworkers' lives while offering practical strategies for action on farmworker issues. The contributors to this book are all farmworker advocates, student and community activists, and farmworkers themselves. Focusing on workers in the Southeast United States, a previously understudied region, they cover a range of issues, from labor organizing, to the rise of agribusiness, to current health, educational, and legal challenges faced by farmworkers.

The Agricultural Labor System in North Carolina: Recommendations for Change 
A Report Submitted to Division of Policy Development, Department of Administration, Raleigh, North Carolina

By Joshua S. Reichert, 1980 

Reichert's report outlines some of the key problems with North Carolina's agricultural labor system and makes suggestions for future policy. Topic covered include wage and hour regulations, workers' compensation, child labor, migrant education, housing, and health services. 

Women At Work

Latin American Women's Textiles in North Carolina Project Collection, 1996

Here and There/Aqui y Alla was an exhibit of Latin American women's textiles in North Carolina presented at the 1996 Festival for the Eno in Durham, N.C. Textile work exhibited included crocheted doilies, afghans, table cloths, and baby clothes; embroidered dresses, blouses, and head sashes; cross-stitched tortilla wraps and pillowcases for newlyweds; knitted sweaters; woven skirts from Guatemala; girl's dresses sewn without a pattern; hand hooked bags; and calado. The fieldwork and exhibit material focuses on the work, skills, and life experiences of eight Latin American textile artists: Manuela Avila Morales (Guatemala), Elvira Garcia (Mexico), Nazaria Munoz Joaquin (Mexico), and Ereneida Duarte Ocampo (Mexico) in Siler City, N.C.; Juana Pascual (Guatemala) and Agustina Lopez (Guatemala) in Morganton, N.C.; Octavia Mendoza (Mexico) in Kernersville, N.C.; and Gloria Munoz (Mexico) in Winston-Salem, N.C. Exhibit materials include text for the explanatory panels for the exhibit and copies of the printed publications associated with the exhibit and the Festival for the Eno. Some of this material is in Spanish. Photographs include portraits of artists, examples of their work, and the documentation of the actual exhibit. Audio tapes are fieldwork interviews with the artists conducted in Spanish with the assistance of a translator. Tapelogs are also included.

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