Out on the dusty plains in the middle of the heartland is a small town that has made neighbors of people from all over the world. Garden City, Kansas, once a very white town, is today home to Mexicans, Central Americans, Asians and Africans. They came to work in the town’s massive meatpacking plants that turn cattle into beef.
We often hear about anti-immigrant sentiment in Middle America, but Garden City is exactly the opposite story. When the immigrants first started arriving, residents made the decision to open their doors and welcome the newcomers with open arms. As a result, an area once known as a cowboy capital has become a cultural crossroads.
Reporter Peggy Lowe tells us how it all happened, and Maria speaks with former Garden City mayor Tim Cruz about the value of neighborliness.
Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Public Library
Peggy Lowe is a multimedia reporter for Harvest Public Media and for KCUR, the NPR station in Kansas City, Mo. She was previously a reporter for the Denver Post, the Rocky Mountain News, and the Orange County Register.
4 thoughts on “Garden City, Kansas: A Melting Pot On The Prairie”
I very much enjoyed the piece this morning about Kansas, the Melting Pot. Thank you for an inspiring story!
My Grandparents and their children, including my Dad grew up in Garden City. I feel proud to have a family in the central area of the USA, to treat all as sisters and brothers of GOD! Love MB
Many people refer to Garden City, rather than a melting pot, as a tossed salad- where each of these cultures retains its own”flavor”, yet works together to make the salad.