Date of Award

1-1-2010

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

History

Sub-Department

Public History

First Advisor

Michael Scardaville

Second Advisor

Elaine Lacy

Abstract

The Colombian community of Greenville is one of the oldest Latino immigrant communities in the American Southeast. The first Colombian immigrants, or pioneros, were recruited from 1968-1975 to work in the town's textile mills. Over 10,000 live in Greenville today. The early community was close-knit and was able to preserve aspects of Colombian culture, such as the Spanish language and Colombian Catholic religion, for the second generation. As the community grew in size and began to incorporate immigrants from other Latino countries community ties weakened.

Today, while the first generation continues to identify with their Colombian heritage, members of the second generation struggle to construct an identity with both Colombian and American components. Without the continued presence of a strong community that stretches across family lines, parents and other first generation family members provide strong influences on the second generation's creation of identity. Where members of the second generation fall along the American and Colombian identity spectrum correlates to the desires of the second generation's parents to preserve specific aspects of Colombian culture.

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