The Urban History Seminar series feature a scholarly presentation followed by lively discussion. Delia Fernández-Jones, an associate professor of history at Michigan State University, presents “Telling Our Stories: Using Historical Scholarship to Combat Black and Latinx Displacement in Grand Rapids, Michigan.”

This talk examines the history of Latinxs and African Americans along the Grandville Avenue corridor in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from the 1950s to the 1970s to help understand the threats of gentrification and displacement in the present. Drawing on her book, Making the MexiRican City: Migration, Placemaking, and Activism in Grand Rapids, Michigan (University of Illinois Press, 2023) and community-engaged scholarship, Dr. Fernández-Jones gives insights into how she is collaborating with grassroots community organizations to help preserve Black and Latinx histories and narratives of cross racial coalition in this smaller, urban center in the face of impending demolitions and changing neighborhood dynamics.

The Zoom session will open at 6:45 p.m. with the program starting at 7:00 p.m. and concluding by 8:15 p.m. RSVP is required.

This session is free of charge; we would greatly appreciate a donation to the Museum in any amount. A Zoom link will be provided after registration.

The Urban History Seminars have been generously underwritten by the Chicago History Museum since 1983.

Delia Fernández-Jones

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Dr. Fernandez-Jones was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan among a large, tight-knit Mexican and Puerto Rican community. A MexiRican Latina and first-generation college student, she earned a BA in history from Grand Valley State University and both her MA and PhD in history from The Ohio State University.

She is currently an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University and is also a core faculty member of the Chicano/Latino Studies Program. Drawing on her lived experiences as a Latina in Michigan and extensive primary source research, Dr. Fernandez-Jones’s work centers on Latino placemaking in the Midwest. She regularly teaches courses for undergraduate and graduate students in US History, Research Methods, and Chicano/Latino Studies. Learn more at

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