Denver Public Library's Western History and Genealogy department is pleased to announce the 2020 Caroline Bancroft History Prize winner. The Bancroft Committee has selected A. K. Sandoval-Strausz's Barrio America: How Latino Immigrants Saved the American City (Basic Books) as the winner of the 2020 Prize.
Barrio America tells the compelling history of how Latino immigrants revitalized the nation’s cities after decades of disinvestment and white flight began in the 1960s. Thirty years ago, most people were ready to give up on American cities. It is commonly said that in the 1990s and 2000s a "creative class" of young professionals were responsible for reviving a moribund urban America. But this stunning reversal owes much more to another, far less visible group: Latinos and Latinas, both native-born and newcomers.
Award-winning historian and Associate Professor of History at Penn State, A. K. Sandoval-Strausz reveals this history by focusing on two barrios: Chicago's Little Village and Dallas's Oak Cliff. These neighborhoods had been losing residents and jobs for decades when Latin American immigration turned them around, beginning in the 1970s. As Sandoval-Strausz shows, Latinos made cities dynamic, stable, and safe by purchasing homes, opening businesses, and reviving street life. Barrio America uses vivid oral histories and detailed statistics to show how the great Latino migrations transformed America for the better.
According to the terms of the will of the late Caroline Bancroft, a provision is made for an annual prize "to be awarded to the author of the best book on Colorado or Western American History." The prize serves to recognize books that make a significant contribution to historical knowledge, present thorough and original research, bring a new perspective to some well-known question, and are of a high literary quality.
Congratulations to Professor Sandoval-Strausz!