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Photo essay: Black and brown together in Mississippi

By David Bacon

Laurel, Mississippi is a town where many Mexican immigrants have arrived to work in poultry plants over the last decade, developing relations with African Americans who also work in the plants. La Veracruzana market and restaurant is named after the home state of many immigrants. Nearby, the Michoacana market sells religious statues. At the Veracruzana, Frank Curiel, an organiser for the Laborers Union and the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, talks with owner Samuel Holguin. Down the street is.a motel where Mexican poultry workers live.

Jerry Ball is an African American poultry plant worker, and union steward at Pico Foods for the Laborer's Union. His hands suffer from carpal tunnel, and show the impact of 13 years on the line in the plant. Jim Evans, chair of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, is the head of the Black Caucus in the state legislature, and is the AFL-CIO representative for the state of Mississippi.

The photographs are part of a documentary project on the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance. An article about MIRA was published in The American Prospect, available at

More photographs in the series are at

For more articles and images on immigration, see
See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US, Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)
See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

David Bacon, photographs and stories

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