The Nuestro South Loud & Proud series focuses on the Poder y Cultura that Nuestra Gente in the South can possess. From the comida que cocinamos, the music we play, and our labor which plants, cleans, and builds-- Nuestra Gente has grown deep roots in the south.
Part 2 of "Las Polleras de Mississippi" takes a deeper dive into the history and context of these polleras through the research and work of professor Angela Stuesse.
In this episode- The history and economy of the South is profoundly defined by the labor structures and hierarchies. There is a through-line from slavery, to sharecropping, and more modern low wage work settings that exploit those most vulnerable for their labor.
Immigrants and their labor are used to prop up industries which benefit from the lack of worker protections. Many of these southern regions have historically suppressed labor organizing and unions. The chicken plant or “Las Polleras” embody much of this history ever since Jim Crow segregation until the present. Las Polleras are some of the largest immigrant minority employers in rural southern towns whose economies largely revolve around the poultry industry.
Angela Stuesse is an associate professor of anthropology and global studies at UNC Chapel Hill. She spent the last 20+ years doing activist research alongside Latinx Immigrant communities in the south. She is the author of Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the deep South. She continues to write and advocate for workers that are increasingly vulnerable in the times of heightened immigration enforcement and health and safety within a pandemic.
To learn more, check out:
Subscribe to this channel for new podcast episodes on
The Nuestro South Loud & Proud Interview Series is produced by Axel Herrera, Julie Weise, and Erik Valera with generous sponsorship from the Whiting Foundation, the University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences, and LatinxEd.