Chicken processing might be one of the most dangerous, degrading, and worst jobs in America today. Many immigrants start working in chicken processing facilities in the deep south of Mississippi and anthropologist Angela Stuesse examines how immigrants have changed the face of the deep south in her new book Scratching Out A Living.
“Her husband used to run whiskey as a bootlegger,” my acquaintance divulged in a low voice.
In this book she lives in the communities of rural Mississippi to look at how the workers live, in dilapidated homes that are barely fit to live in, and how they have impacted the communities they live in as well. From the opening of a Mexican grocery store, to foreign languages now being heard on the street. We get an inside look at how these workers try to persevere until they can find other work and move out, or organize and try to make things better at work.
Really this book is split into two parts, the first part Mrs. Stuesse examines the history of chicken processing and race in Mississippi. The second part she starts to talk about the Hispanic migrants and how they replaced African-Americans. She does get a little technical in her language and she does cover a lot of ground, though the historical part could have been shorter.