Latino/as in the United States
A list of books, videos and websites for the study of Latino/a history and struggles in the United States. Resource
for teachers and students.

(Compiled 12/00);
(Addition 4/02)


In 1995, the Latino/a population consisted of 26.6 million people in the United States representing 10 percent of all residents. By the year 2010, the total number of Latino/as in this country will grow to more than 40 million; and, by the year 2050, Latino/as are projected to make up one-fourth of the entire United States population.

The Latino/a population in the United States is extremely diverse. It consists of millions of indigenous people, migrants and descents of migrants from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and each of the 33 countries of South America and the Caribbean. Of the nation's Latino/as, almost two-thirds (65 percent) are of Mexican descent. Puerto Ricans account for 10 percent; Cubans account for 4 percent; Central and South Americans constitute 14 percent, and other Latino/as make up 7 percent. The population is young with an estimated median age of 26.6 years compared to the median age of the general population, which is 35.8 years, and 52 percent of Latino/a households have children age 18 or under.
Latino/as reside in all 50 states, but live primarily in urban areas in the largest states; 60 percent in California, Texas, Florida and New York.

Latino/a immigrants have come to the United States searching for work, fleeing political persecution, and in response to the economic, social, and political needs of the United States. Going back to before the well-known Monroe Doctrine of 1822, the United States government and corporations have directly impacted the social, economic and political lives of the people Latin American.

The objective of this bibliography is to provide a core understanding of the Latino/as community in the United States, its concerns and contributions. Given the vast number of possibilities, the selected titles and resources provide general background and a basis from which to pursue advanced studies.Most of the resources have been written or created within the last ten years, and the majority of the sources are written by Latino/as.

The bibliography is divided into written works, video sources and website/Internet sources. Written works are subdivided into five areas: 1) history, 2) politics, 3) women's studies, 4) literature and 5) religion.

General Background History:

Bonilla, Frank (Editor). Borderless Borders: U.S. Latinos, Latin Americans, and the Paradox of Interdependence. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.
This book examines the impact of economic and political restructuring within the United States, changing concepts of community, citizenship, political participation, and human rights, as individuals and families construct identities in more than one setting.

Fox, Geoffrey. Hispanic Nation: Culture, Politics and the Constructing of Identity. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, 1996.
In Hispanic Nation, Fox argues that Hispanics are creating a solidarity group, as a way to confront injustice. It focuses on the diverse experiences of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans.

Gonzalez, Juan. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. New York: Viking Penguin, 2000.
Gonzalez features family portraits of Latino/as along with sketches of political events and social conditions that compelled migration. He also examines how Latino/as have transformed the cultural landscape of the United States.

Romero, Mary (Editor). Challenging Fronteras: Structuring Latina and Latino Lives in the U.S. New York: Routledge, 1997.
Focuses on the diversity of the Latino population and moves beyond generalizations that treat Latino/as as a monolithic cultural group.

Suro, Roberto. Strangers Among Us: How Latino Immigration is Transforming America. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.
Examines Latino/a immigration to the United States, its impact, and challenges. It includes a chronological narrative that starts with the Puerto Rican migration to East Harlem in the 1950s and continues through the California-bound rush of Mexicans and Central Americans in the 1990s.

Specific Histories

Acuna, Rodolfo. Occupied America: A History of Chicanos. New York: Longman, 2000.
Details the history of Chicano/as in the United States and examines the strategies that Mexican Americans have used to resist U.S. colonial power and expansion.

Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1987.
Examines and documents the history of the U.S.-Mexico border. The author also discusses feminist theories and examines the rights of Gays and Lesbians.

Gonzales, Manuel G. Mexicanos: A History of Mexicans in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000.
This book reassesses Mexican history and paints a portrait of Mexican American life beyond victimization and resistance. The book probes failures as well as community successes.

Lopez, Adalberto. The Puerto Ricans: Their History, Culture, and Society. Rochester, Vermont: Schenkman Books Incorporated, 1981.
Focuses on Puerto Rican history especially migration to the United States. Explores recurring issues such as identity, gender, and education.

Perez, Louis A. On Becoming Cuban: Identity, Nationality and Culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. Explores the lives of Cubans and Americans from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s and the influences on each other in sources such as music, oral history, popular magazines and movies.

Torres-Saillant, Silvio, and Ramona Hernandez. The Dominican Americans. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 1998.
Examines the historical and cultural background of Dominicans and the reasons for migrating to the United States. The book traces the growth and achievements of the community since the beginning of its mass migration in the mid-1960s.

Vento, Arnoldo Carlos. Mestizo: The History, Culture and Politics of the Mexican and Chicano: The Emerging Mestizo Americans. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1997.
This book covers more than 2,000 years of history, tracing the roots of the contemporary Mexican-American. It covers the fields of history, political science, cultural anthropology, folklore, literature, Latin American studies and ethnic studies.

Background Politics

Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic (Editors). The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader. New York: New York University Press, 1998.
This book presents the historical origins of Latino/as in the United States, how they were viewed by the dominant culture, how the media magnified these views into stereotypes, and how the Latino/a community self- definition grew in opposition to these prejudices.

Hardy-Fanta, Carol. Latina Politics, Latino Politics: Gender, Culture, and Political Participation in Boston. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994.
The author focuses on Latino/a political movements and activist efforts in Boston. It also presents a basic background of Latino/a culture and explores gender issues.

Torres, Rodolfo D., and George N. Katsiaficas (Editors). Latino Social Movements: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 1999.
Focusing on class politics, community development, patriarchy, and capital, the contributors to this book trace these issues within the context of popular efforts to transform the social conditions of Latino/a life.

Trueba, Enrique T., adapted by George Spindler. Latinos Unidos: From Cultural Diversity to the Politics of Solidarity. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Incorporated, 1999.
Latinos Unidos presents Latino/as as a highly diverse and rapidly growing population in the United States with distinct, social, cultural, and economic features and as a new political force with a cohesive collective ethnic identity.

Vigil, Maurilio E. Hispanics in American Politics: The Search for Political Power. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1987.
The author evaluates the role of Latino/as in United States politics. Through brief sketches of several groups -Mexican-Americans, Cubans and Puerto Rican, the author examines the realities and possibilities of conceptualizing Latino/as as a single political group.

Specific Political Movements

Abramson, Michael, and The Young Lords Party. Palante: The Young Lords Party. McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971.
This book includes 72 pages of photographs and transcribed interviews with members of the Young Lords Party, a Puerto Rican activist group organizing urban communities in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Cruz, Jose. Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.
Identity and Power discusses Puerto Rican politics in Hartford. Through interviews Cruz examines contemporary political issues of Latino/as in the United States.

Gandy, Matthew. Concrete and Clay, Reworking Nature in New York City. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2002.
The author discusses how New York's environmental history is bound up with among other things the environmental politics of the barrio in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the contemporary politics of the environmental justice movement.

Garcia, Ignacio M. Chicanismo: The Forging of a Militant Ethos Among Mexican Americans. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1997.
is a history of the Chicano Movement and the philosophy that guided the movement. The author examines its ideological strains that remain important among Mexican American leaders today.

Jennings, James, and Monte Rivera (Editors). Puerto Rican Politics in Urban America. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated, 1984.
This book is organized into three major parts. The first traces Puerto Rican politics between the 1860s and the 1970s. Next it examines contemporary politics in three cities: New York, Boston, and Chicago. Finally, the authors examine labor activism and education.

Quinones, Juan Gomez. Chicano Politics: Reality and Promise. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991.
This author analyses and interprets the last 50 years of social movement examining the leaders and organizations that struggled for political rights as well as the evolution of their goals and strategies.

Torres, Andres, and Jose Velasquez (Editors). The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices from the Diaspora. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.

The Puerto Rican Movement focuses on the Puerto Rican organizations that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s to fight for Puerto Rican independence and the radical transformation of U.S. society. It includes interviews with and essays written by activists.

Women's Studies

Anzaldua, Gloria and Ana Louise Keating (Editors). This Bridge Called My Back: Twenty Years Late-Enacting the Visions of Radical Women of Color. New York: Routledge, 2001
Writings by feminists of color that reflects a basis for political solidarity beyond differences and conflicts.

Blea, Irene I. U.S. Chicanas and Latinas within a Global Context: Women of Color at the Fourth World Women's Conference. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1997.
This book explores the idea of racializing feminism arising as a result of Latinas participation in the Fourth World Women's Conference. It examines Chicanas' historical struggle to relate to the United Nations conference and the platform.

Castillo-Speed, Lillian (Editor). Latina: Women's Voices from the Borderlands. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.
Fiction and nonfiction works by both well-known and emerging Latina writers focus on themes of heritage, living in an alienating land, political concerns, hopes and dreams. Contributors include Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, and others.

Espin, Olivia M. Latina Realities: Essays on Healing, Migration, and Sexuality. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1997.
The book focuses on the experiences of Latina women. It discusses issues relevant to immigrant women and girls such as sexuality and language and other similar topics.

Fernandez, Roberta (Editor). In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1994.
Fernandez has compiled representative examples of fiction, poetry, drama, and essay currently being written by Latina writers in the United States. Subjects include the challenge of living in two cultures; experiencing marginality as a result of class, ethnicity and/or gender; Latina feminism; the celebration of one's culture and its people.

Feyder, Linda (Editor). Shattering the Myth: Plays by Hispanic Women. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1992.

Six plays question traditions rooted in the familial culture of which these playwrights are still a part. They explore their need to reinterpret the inherited customs for a new identity in the present bicultural existence. The playwrights confront the myths and stereotypes that continue to circumscribe freedom of expression and life fulfillment for Latinas.

Hinojosa, Maria. Daughter of the Fifth Sun: A Collection of Latina Fiction and Poetry. New York: Riverhead Books, 1995.
An anthology of short fiction and poetry displaying the breadth and achievement of celebrated Latina writers while introducing the next generation of voices. Contributors include Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Julia Alvarez, and others.

Horno-Delgado, Asuncion (Editor). Breaking Boundaries: Latina Writing and Critical Readings. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989.
A collection of essays by feminist writers of Latin American descent and others residing in the United States. Most of the articles originated at the Tenth Symposium of Spanish and Portuguese Bilingualism held 1986 and deal with issues of literary criticism and efforts to develop a framework to analyze Latina writing. <

Lopez, Antoinette Sedillo (Editor). Latina Issues: Fragments of Historia (Ella) (Herstory). New York: Garland Publishing Press, 1995.The second of six volumes in a series, this book explores the history available about Latinas in the United States. It highlights emerging voices in a unified collection of reprinted articles illustrating Latina perspectives on colonization, gender, race, and class.

Martinez, Elizabeth. De Colores Means All of Us: Latina Views for a Multi-Colored Century. Cambridge, Massachusetts: South End Press, 1998.

The author presents a radical Latina perspective on race, identity and liberation through a collection of essays that document a new wave of activism among Latino/a youth.

Literature: Novelists

Other works by the following authors are also recommended.

Alvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies. New York: Dutton/Plume, 1995.
Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this novel tells the story of the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.

Castillo, Ana. So Far from God. New York: Dutton/Plume, 1994.
This novel, set in New Mexico, tells the stories of Sofi and her four daughters, La Loca, the crazy one; Fe, Faith; Caridad, Charity; and Esperanza, Hope.

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
The story of a young girl growing up in Chicago's Latino/a area where she discovers the hard realities of life relating to class, gender, racial prejudice, sexuality, and more.

Diaz, Junot. Drown. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1997.
Diaz's first collection of short stories are linked by a common narrator who was born in the Dominican Republic and emigrated to the United States as a boy.

Santiago, Esmeralda. When I was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
This book is about the author's childhood living in Puerto Rico and chronicles her life after moving to New York when she was a teenager.

Literature: Poets

Other works by the following poets are also recommended.

Cisneros, Sandra. Loose Woman. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. This collection of poetry celebrates the aspects of love.

Cruz, Victor Hernandez. Red Beans. Minneapolis: CoffeeHouse Press, 1994. Hernandez Cruz writes poetry that keeps Caribbean lyrics and rhythms alive.

Perdomo, Willie. Where a Nickel Costs a Dime. Norton, W, 1996. A collection of poems about the poet's experiences growing up in Spanish Harlem.

Perez-Torres, Rafael. Movements in Chicano Poetry: Against Myths, Against Margins. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
This book studies the aesthetic and thematic concerns addressed by recent Chicano poetry and places Chicano literature within contemporary studies.

Pietri, Pedro. Puerto Rican Obituary. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990.
The poet explores the social realities faced by Puerto Ricans in the United States. He deals with racism, unemployment and exploitation to awaken all Latino/as, especially Puerto Ricans, to the fact that the American Dream is a myth.

Quintana, Leroy V. The History of Home. Temple, Arizona: Bilingual Review Press, 1997. The poet focuses on the stories of children who through simple experiences, transcend the hardships of their lives.

Suarez, Virgil. Spanned Angola: Memories from a Cuban Childhood. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press, 1997. A collection of autobiographical stories, essays and poems that detail the psychological pressure of male expectations, family gender battles, migration and adjustment to a new culture.


Banuelas, Arturo J (Editor). Mestizo Christianity: Theology from the Latino Perspective. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1995.
Introduces the work of the principal figures in U.S. Hispanic theology - Protestant and Catholic. It provides writing by each of fourteen "first-generation" theologians in their areas of specialization.

Isasi-Diaz, Ada Maria. Mujerista Theology for the 21st Century. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1997.
Mujerista Theology is an introduction to Hispanic feminist theology written from experience. Continually drawing on her Cuban roots, Isasi-Diaz focuses on the life journeys and struggles of Hispanic women.

Vega, Marta Moreno. Altar of my Soul: The Living Traditions of Santeria. New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 2000.
The author details her journey into Santeria, a religion that originated in Nigeria, Africa. She provides an in-depth look at the beliefs and practices of the religion and dispels popular myths surrounding it.


Other works by the following producers are recommended.

A Bowl of Beings
Producer: Culture Clash

Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement
Producer: Galan Productions

El Pueblo Se Levanta
Producer & Distributor: Third World Newsreel

Mi Puerto Rico
Producer: Raquel Ortiz

!Palante Siempre Palante! The Young Lords
Producer: Iris Morales
Distributor: Third World Newsreel

The Border
Producer: Paul Espinosa

The Double Life of Ernesto Gomez
Producer: Luna Productions

Special thanks to Adrien Bibiloni Morales for compiling this information.