Since the early 1900s, Latinos have been a productive and essential part of Minnesota. Most of the earliest Minnesotanos were migrant farm workers from Mexico or Texas and faced obstacles to first-class citizenship that are still being addressed. They overcame the instability associated with migratory work by establishing stable communities in the cities and towns of Minnesota. Latinos faced, and still face, discrimination—both racial and the kinds common to all immigrants and migrants.
The Hmong first arrived in Minnesota in late 1975, after the communist seizure of power in Indochina. They faced multiple barriers as refugees from a war-torn country, but with the help of generous sponsors, have managed to thrive in the Twin Cities area, a region they now claim as home. Today, many Hmong promote the economic, social, and political diversity of the state.
The Hmong New Year in St. Paul is a unique annual event encapsulated into a weekend celebration held at the end of November. Since 1977, Hmong people have gathered in the city to meet, eat, celebrate the harvest, and enjoy cultural performances. Though the event is rooted in the agricultural history of the Hmong people and their religious traditions, it has found a new expression in St. Paul—the home of one of the largest communities of Hmong outside Southeast Asia.
During the summer of 1916, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) coordinated a strike of iron ore miners on the Mesabi Iron Range. The strikers fought for higher wages, an eight-hour workday, and workplace reform. Although the strike failed, it was one of the largest labor conflicts in Minnesota history.