The journeys of Latino migrant farmworkers to Vermont are part of a larger and longer story of Latino migrants coming to the region in search of work. Exploring this history will help to better understand the causes of migration and the reasons people leave their homes and travel such long distances in search of work and a better life, in the past and in the present. The theme of Latino Journeys is the focus of this year’s Vermont Reads book, The Most Costly Journey, a graphic novel which presents stories of Latin American migrant farm workers in Vermont. Professor Carmen Whalen, Professor of History and Chair of the Latinx Studies program at Williams College, will present context for this important book.
Since 2003, Vermont Humanities has invited students, adults, and seniors across the state to read the same book and participate in a wide variety of community activities related to the book’s themes. Over 200 different Vermont towns, cities, and villages have participated in Vermont Reads to date.
Carmen Teresa Whalen is the Carl W. Vogt ’58 Professor of History and Chair of the Latinx Studies program at Williams College. Her first book, From Puerto Rico to Philadelphia: Puerto Rican Workers and Postwar Economies, explores the causes of migration, its gendered dynamics, and Puerto Ricans’ settlement in the city. She retold this story through historic photographs and bilingual captions in El Viaje: Puerto Ricans of Philadelphia. She co-edited, with Víctor Vázquez-Hernández, The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Historical Perspectives. Her current research focuses on Puerto Rican women working in New York City’s garment industry in the post-World War II era.