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What could and should fair labor standards and social programs for “noncitizen” migrant farmworkers in the United States look like? Verónica Martínez-Matsuda, associate professor at the ILR School, addresses this question in her new book, Migrant Citizenship: Race, Rights, and Reform in the U.S. Farm Labor Camp Program (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020) by showing how between 1935 and 1946 the Farm Security Administration (FSA) worked with migrant families to provide sanitary housing, on-site medical care, nursery and primary schools, healthy food, recreational programming, and democratic self-governing councils.
In a live, virtual Chats in the Stacks talk, Martínez-Matsuda discusses how these Farm Labor Camps became visionary experiments in democracy, and provide insights into how the public policy, federal interventions, and cross-racial movements for social justice of this era can offer a precedent for improving farm labor conditions today.