Tradition and Cultural Celebrations Follow Hispanic Migrants to The South: Georgia Benefits
North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina Hispanic groups Celebrate Quincenera
Georgia has received is fair share of Hispanic migrants who are seeking new employment sources in the manufacturing, agriculture and service industries. According to various reports, studies and social scientists’ observations, the prospects of a better job remain the number one reason that most Americans migrate. Among the ethnic groups migrating to the South, Hispanics are reaching areas that were long populated by Blacks and Whites. It’s worth noting that Asians are also making good strides in the interior. Hard-working men and women of Hispanic descent are willing to go where the jobs are. You may have been used to seeing migrant workers leaving California for Washington to work in the apple orchards. They also go to Florida to work in the tomato fields.
When Hispanics travel, their culture is also with them. From the foods such as tortillas, tacos, chile and various exotic roots sold at the tiendas or supermercado, the music, to the bus loads of workers who get up early in the morning to brave the darkness and reach the cold fields. You can also see their impact on the school. Their kids are hungry for a solid education which will take them away and provide them with a better life.
A few months ago, there were various reports of Hispanic students organizing their own dance at a Georgia high school. Critics were wondering why the school could not organize a multi-ethnic dance where all the students would participate. When students and parents decide what goes on, it’s hard to break up the tradition.
No matter what, Hispanic students living in North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Virginia and other nearby states will celebrate their traditions. Quincenera and other rites of passages events will be highlighted. Hispanic girls will seek new dresses for their sweet 15 or sweet 16 ceremonies and communion.
In a letter sent to an editor commenting on the comparison of US migration, a writer made these observations on non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics moved to the South between 1995 and 2000.
“More non-Hispanic whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics moved to the South between 1995 and 2000 than left that region for other parts of the country, according to a Census 2000 report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Meanwhile, the other three regions registered a net domestic migration loss for some or all of these groups.
Hispanics were the most mobile of the four discussed here, as 56 percent changed residence during the five-year period; the South and the Midwest recorded net gains, while the West and the Northeast showed net losses; Florida recorded the largest net gain among states (92,000), while Clark County, Nev. (56,000), led all counties.”
In a related study conducted by Bouvier, L. F and Martin, J. L., it was found that “Of the foreign born residing in Georgia in 1990, Mexico was the leading country of birth. The 20,309 Mexican born represented almost 12 percent of all of Georgia's immigrant population. Other leading sources included Germany, Korea and the United Kingdom (each of which had 10,000 or more), India, Canada, Vietnam and Japan (each with over 5,000), and Cuba and the Philippines (with over 4,000 each).
“Local residents say that migrants are attracted to the area by two large tobacco farms; some assert that the migrants displace local workers and depress wages and working conditions. Workers harvest tobacco by cutting and spearing about 1,000 stalks a day for $100: the tobacco is then hung in barns to dry. The Head Start project is now on hold pending an environmental study.
“Immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century avoided the southeast; immigrants
at the end of the 20th century are attracted to the southeast by jobs in agriculture and manufacturing. In Georgia, local observers say: "In Dalton, they (Hispanic immigrants)
are in the carpet industry; in Gainesville (Georgia.), it's poultry; in metro Atlanta, it's construction." In the Dalton area, the number of Hispanics is estimated at 25,000 to 50,000 in a county that in 1990 had a population.”
As more and ethnic groups imitate and assimilate into the larger American population, the needs to celebrate ethnic events will decrease. However, the needs to be pretty and wear the best gowns and dresses at Quincenera ceremonies will continue.
Center for Immigration Studies:
Rural Migration News at UC Davis, CA