Three Generations of Migrants: A Family History

A former teacher and scholar, Jesus will share stories of working alongside his siblings and parents, of being part of the migrant community, and of the changes he experienced. His parents first came to Wisconsin in the early 1940s. By 1959, over 10,000 migrants were coming to the state yearly. During this time, agriculture changed in Wisconsin from a household industry to big business. Jesus and his family were on the ground creating the wealth, as well as fighting for their fair share.

This is a ShopTalk presentation sponsored by the Wisconsin Humanities Council, as part of The Working Lives Project, which examines what it means to make a living and a life in Wisconsin.

Jesus Salas is the descendent of a Mexican American family who first came to Wisconsin during the 1940s. He worked throughout his early school years as a migrant farm worker. Salas led protests, marches, and organizing efforts to secure rights and improve conditions for himself, his family, and the migrant community during the 1960s and 1970s. Salas has an undergraduate degree from the UW-Milwaukee, and an advanced degree from the UW-Madison. He has worked as teacher and scholar at MATC, UW-Madison, and UW-Milwaukee. Salas served as a member of the UW-System Board of Regents from 2003-07.