Why did many Mexican immigrants in the early 1900s work as migrant farm laborers?

Then and now, many Mexican Americans have found work picking crops on big commercial farms.

Field workers migrate from farm to farm, harvesting the crops that stock grocery stores and wind up on dinner tables. The labor is hard and low-paying, but for those with no property, education, or skills, it is better than starving.

It was not the only work Mexican Americans found in the early twentieth century. Some also worked on railroads, in copper and coal mines, and in factories. But the agricultural industry was their most important employer.

In 1994, a Native American group called the Zapatista National Liberation Army launched a short-lived revolt. Seeking social and political justice for the poor, they fought in the name of Emiliano Zapata, a hero of the Mexican Revolution.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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