Ybor City

Crucible of the Latina South

By Sarah McNamara

266 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 halftones, 1 map

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6816-1
    Published: April 2023
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-6815-4
    Published: April 2023
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-6817-8
    Published: February 2023
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-5131-4
    Published: February 2023

Justice, Power, and Politics

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Awards & distinctions

2023 Sara A. Whaley Book Prize, National Women's Studies Association

Honorable Mention, 2024 First Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

Bronze Medal, 2023 Florida Book Awards, Florida Nonfiction

Decades before Miami became Havana USA, a wave of leftist, radical, working-class women and men from prerevolutionary Cuba crossed the Florida Straits, made Ybor City the global capital of the Cuban cigar industry, and established the foundation of latinidad in the Sunshine State. Located on the eastern edge of Tampa, Ybor City was a neighborhood of cigar workers and Caribbean revolutionaries who sought refuge against the shifting tides of international political turmoil during the early half of the twentieth century.

Historian Sarah McNamara tells the story of immigrant and U.S.-born Latinas/os who organized strikes, marched against fascism, and criticized U.S. foreign policy. While many members of the immigrant generation maintained their dedication to progressive ideals for years to come, those who came of age in the wake of World War II distanced themselves from leftist politics amidst the Red Scare and the wrecking ball of urban renewal. This portrait of the political shifts that defined Ybor City highlights the underexplored role of women’s leadership within movements for social and economic justice as it illustrates how people, places, and politics become who and what they are.

About the Author

Sarah McNamara is assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University.

For more information about Sarah McNamara, visit the Author Page.


"Ybor City is the best that Latinx history has to offer—deeply researched and rigorous but with respect toward diasporic peoples and the rich communities they build and evolve within."—NACLA Report on the Americas

"The book is not some alternative perspective on what happened in Ybor City, but real history and storytelling verified by records in the archives of the USF special collections, petitions in the City of Tampa archives, and the city directories that are part of a treasure chest of artifacts at the Tampa Bay History Center."—Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

"Ybor City is a deeply researched book that brings the rich history of Latina labor organizing . . . into vibrant visibility through the stories of Louisa Moreno and other Latina workers and organizers. . . . McNamara seamlessly interweaves Latina worker’ resistance into the larger colonial and political contexts.”—Sara A. Whaley, Book Prize Committee, National Women's Studies Association

"Their story broadens our understanding of Latino politics in the state and of labor and ethno-racial community organizing in the American South more broadly, while also providing a formidable example of Latino solidarity, ever timelier in the wake of the renewed far-right politics of the Florida of today."—The Volunteer

"A joy to read, McNamara’s book is a masterwork in the art of microhistory, persuasively arguing that a neighborhood in Tampa, Florida, shaped global immigration politics through the first half of the twentieth century."—Maddalena Marinari, President, Immigration and Ethnic History Society

"Sarah McNamara brings a dedication to historical craft—a fealty to the archives as well as command of oral history as practice and praxis. Writing with passion and precision, she always ensures that her interpretations are solidly grounded in primary sources. Ybor City will become a benchmark work in Latino history, labor studies, and the U.S. South."—Vicki L. Ruiz, University of California, Irvine