University of Wisconsin–Madison

Sharing his history

History Ph.D. candidate Sergio González researches and writes about families like his own, immigrants from Mexico who have helped shape Wisconsin’s story since the early 20th century.

The son of a tradesman father and a mother who assisted dislocated workers, Sergio González grew up in a tightly knit Latino community in Milwaukee. Surrounded by families like his, whose relatives lived in Mexico before moving to Wisconsin, he spent his childhood going to school and church and accompanying his activist parents at marches and protests.

“As a Wisconsin native, I never felt this wasn’t a place for me,” he says. Yet he knows not all Latinos in the state feel the same way. Immigrants from Mexico have had drastically different experiences since they began arriving in the early 20th century, and González traces their diverse history in Mexicans in Wisconsin.

The book, published in late 2017 by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, chronicles the workers who came to take jobs in railroads, factories and agricultural fields, as well as the families that arrived as political refugees from the Mexican Revolution and the generations that followed and have contributed to Wisconsin’s economic, cultural and religious landscape.

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