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The Kansas City Westside: Home of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

  • Theresa L. Torres
Chapter
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Abstract

This chapter depicts the history of the Mexican and Mexican American experience on the Westside of Kansas City, particularly the progressive nature of both ethnic identity and the patterns of change, negotiation, accommodation, response, and resistance within this community. We will see that the Kansas City Westside community of Mexicans and Mexican Americans actively dealt with the difficulties they encountered due to immigrant status, poverty, exploitation, and discrimination by fostering mutual solidarity among families, friends, and neighbors over generations. This chapter also addresses the role of leadership developed in the face of external discrimination and exploitation. In that regard, the chapter does not focus specifically on the Guadalupanas, (their leadership as a group is described in chapter two), but instead addresses the significant socio-historical context that was the foundation for the development of Mexican American leadership in the Kansas City Westside. Through the creation of organizations, supportive networks, and the strength of their religious and cultural heritage, as shown in various institutions in the Westside neighborhood, this community has uniquely demonstrated strong leadership.

Keywords

Ethnic Identity Kansas City Mexican Immigrant Catholic School Mexican American Family 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Leo Grebler, Joan W. Moore, and Ralph C. Guzman, The Mexican-American People: The Nation’s Second Largest Minority (New York: The Free Press, 1970);Google Scholar
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  5. An early exception to the assimilationist model was Manuel Gamio, Mexican Immigration to the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1930; reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1969). Gamio’s study depicted the difficulties facing assimilation of Mexican immigrants to the United States way of life through his explanation of exploitation, discrimination, and poverty barriers.Google Scholar
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    Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted: The Epic Story of the Great Migrations that Made the American People (Boston: Little, Brown, 1951), 3.Google Scholar
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    Robert Oppenheimer, “Acculturation or Assimilation: Mexican Immigrants in Kansas, 1900 to World War II,” Western Historical Quarterly (October 1985), 431. Unless noted otherwise, Kansas City refers to the twin cities of Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. These two cities were a major transportation link to the westward movements through the Santa Fe trail of the nineteenth century and major crossroads for the following railroads: Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (Santa Fe); Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific (Rock Island); St. Louis and San Francisco (Frisco); Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy (Burlington); and Missouri, Kansas, and Texas (Katy). See Michael Smith, “Mexicans in Kansas City: The First Generation, 1900–1920,” in Mexicans in the Midwest, eds. Juan García, Ignacio M. García, and Thomas Gelison (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, 1989), 31. The term Mexican refers to first generation immigrants and Mexican American refers to descendants of Mexicans born in the United States.Google Scholar
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    Juan R. García, Mexicans in the Midwest1900–1932 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1966), 5–6.Google Scholar
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    Francisco E. Balderrama and Raymond Rodríguez, Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995), 54, 58.Google Scholar
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    Manuel G. Gonzales, Mexicanos: A History of the Mexicans in the United States (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999), 148.Google Scholar
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    Valerie Mendoza, “The Creation of a Mexican Immigrant Community in Kansas City, 1890–1930” (PhD diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1997), 130.Google Scholar
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    Louise Año Nuevo Kerr, “Mexican Chicago: Chicano Assimilation Aborted, 1939–1954,” in Ethnic Chicago 3rd ed. rev. and enl., eds. Melvin G. Holli and Peter d’A. Jones (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing CO, 1984), 270, 272.Google Scholar
  32. 54.
    Paul Ming-Chang Lin, “Voluntary Kinship and Voluntary Associations in a Mexican-American Community” (MA thesis, University of Kansas), 1963, 57. See map of parish boundaries established in 1959 on page 107. Taken from KCSJCDA, OLGPF. The document states the following boundaries: “Begin 17th Street at State Line, south to 25th Street (south side), east to Southwest Boulevard (east side), to 23rd Street (south side), to Broadway to 22nd Street (south side), to Baltimore (east side), to 20th Street (south side), to Grand (west side), to 18th street, to Southwest Trafficway, to 17th Street to the beginning. Approved by decree dated February 18, 1959, Feast of Saint Simeon, John P. Cody, Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Joseph V. Sullivan, Chancellor.”Google Scholar

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© Theresa L. Torres 2013

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  • Theresa L. Torres

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