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WNCHA History Hour: Revisiting The Maya of Morganton

09/20/2022 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


Join the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) for this History Hour presentation Tuesday, September 20 at 6pm via Zoom. This event airs live and will be recorded.

In the 1990s, Morganton, North Carolina became the new home of several hundred Guatemalan and Mexican-born workers, and the site of their struggle for labor rights and unionization in a poultry processing plant. Their oral histories formed the basis for Dr. Leon Fink’s 2003 book – the winner of WNCHA’s Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.

Our presenter says: “Like all migrant groups before them, the Guatemalan Maya on whose experiences I concentrated in my 2003 book, The Maya of Morganton, present a complicated mosaic of stories and experiences, and it is a history, still young, which remains very much in its early chapters.  I want to take this opportunity to review the major findings of my study and then to offer a few comments in light of subsequent impressions and events.  In this talk I will look back on the struggles of the community—including a dramatic period of labor strife as well as uncertainty of legal standing—and their attempts, partially realized to overcome significant obstacles.”

About the Presenter: Leon Fink is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Senior Research Associate at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor.  Author of more than a dozen books, his most recent is Undoing the Liberal World Order: Progressive Ideals and Political Realities Since World War II (Columbia University Press, 2022).

Tickets: $5 for WNCHA members/ $10 for General Admission. We also have no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Viewing: Registrants will receive a Zoom link with which to view the program. It will also be recorded and later available on our website.

(Image: Cover of The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South)

For questions, email Trevor Freeman at [email protected]


6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)