“Delerme has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork with Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in Orlando to provide a full-fledged picture of a complex and heterogenous community that has become central to the economic, cultural, and political life of the ‘New South.’”—Jorge Duany, editor of Picturing Cuba: Art, Culture, and Identity on the Island and in the Diaspora
“A compelling ethnographic history of the rise and fall of Florida suburbs, places of great linguistic, cultural, and ethnic diversity. Delerme chronicles the stories of residents who have built communities in the face of growing national inequalities and poverty, anti-migrant sentiment, and class divides.”—Hannah Gill, author of The Latino Migration Experience in North Carolina: New Roots in the Old North State
Latino Orlando: Suburban Transformation and Racial Conflict portrays the experiences of first- and second-generation immigrants who have come to the Orlando metropolitan area from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and other Latin American countries. While much research on immigration focuses on urban destinations, Simone Delerme delves into a middle- and upper-class suburban context, highlighting the profound demographic and cultural transformation of an overlooked immigrant hub.
Drawing on interviews, observations, fieldwork, census data, and traditional and new media, Delerme reveals the important role of real estate developers in attracting Puerto Ricans—some of the first Spanish-speaking immigrants in the region—to Central Florida in the 1970s. She traces how language became a way of racializing and segregating Latino communities, leading to the growth of suburban ethnic enclaves. She documents not only the tensions between Latinos and non-Latinos, but also the class-based distinctions that cause dissent within the Latino population.
Arguing that Latino migrants are complicating racial categorizations and challenging the deep-rooted black-white binary that has long prevailed in the American South, Latino Orlando breaks down stereotypes of neighborhood decline and urban poverty and illustrates the diversity of Latinos in the region.
Simone Delerme is the McMullan Associate Professor of Southern Studies and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Mississippi.