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Feb 29, 2024

On the east end of downtown Indianapolis, there was a community (or "barrio") of Mexican families during the 1940s and '50s. During the 1960s and '70s, camps in the farm fields of Grant County and Howard County were set up for migrant workers, most of them of Mexican or other Latino heritage. So there were urban as well as rural residents of Latino heritage in the Hoosier state during the mid and late 1900s.

In our rotating series about ethnic heritage in Indiana that has focused on heritage groups ranging from Germans and Irish to Ukrainians and Koreans, Hoosier History Live will follow up a show in 2018 about the Mexican communities in northwest Indiana during the 1920s. The guests on that show included Nicole Martinez-LeGrand of the Indiana Historical Society, who will return to share insights about the subsequent evolution of Latinos during the mid and late 1900s.

Nicole is the co-author of "Hoosier Latinos: A Century of Struggle, Service and Success" (Indiana Historical Society Press); her ancestors came from Mexico to the Indiana Harbor area of Lake County as early as 1918. Steel companies in northwest Indiana recruited Mexican immigrants as workers, with a barrio established in the Indiana Harbor area of East Chicago.