Tierra y Libertad

Land, Liberty, and Latino Housing

252 pages

1 illustrations

September, 2010

ISBN: 9780814791257



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Steven W. Bender is a Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Seattle University School of Law. He is the author of Greasers and Gringos: Latinos, Law, and the American Imagination (NYU Press, 2003), and One Night in America: Robert Kennedy, César Chávez, and the Dream of Dignity.

All books by Steven W. Bender

One of the quintessential goals of the American Dream is to own land and a home, a place to raise one’s family and prove one’s prosperity. Particularly for immigrant families, home ownership is a way to assimilate into American culture and community. However, Latinos, who make up the country’s largest minority population, have largely been unable to gain this level of inclusion. Instead, they are forced to cling to the fringes of property rights and ownership through overcrowded rentals, transitory living arrangements, and, at best, home acquisitions through subprime lenders.

In Tierra y Libertad, Steven W. Bender traces the history of Latinos’ struggle for adequate housing opportunities, from the nineteenth century to today’s anti-immigrant policies and national mortgage crisis. Spanning southwest to northeast, rural to urban, Bender analyzes the legal hurdles that prevent better housing opportunities and offers ways to approach sweeping legal reform. Tierra y Libertad combines historical, cultural, legal, and personal perspectives to document the Latino community’s ongoing struggle to make America home.


  • "Tierra y Libertad: Land Liberty and Latino Housing offers an overview of the challenges that Latinos have face over the past 160 years in achieving and maintaining homeownership."

    —Louis DeSipio, The Law and Politics Book Review

  • "This book will draw in readers who want to explore the historical, political, economic, and social contexts of the recent foreclosure crisis for Latinos pursuing the American dream of home ownership. . . Bender does and exceptional job of investigating Mexican American experiences while opening the door for future studies of other Latino group experiences."

    —S. Lawson-Clark, Wake Forest University, Choice Magazine

  • “Steven Bender’s Tierra y Libertad is interesting, his research is great, and the information is long overdue.”

    —Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers

  • “Nothing is more vital to dignity and wellbeing than a home of one’s own. This fine book describes Latinos’ struggles to achieve home ownership in a society that has placed obstacles in their way at every turn.”

    —Richard Delgado, author of The Rodrigo Chronicles