Nestled between Texas and Tamaulipas, Laredo was once a quaint border town, nurturing cultural ties across the border, attracting occasional tourists, and serving as the home of people living there for generations. In a span of mere decades, Laredo has become the largest inland port in the U.S. and a major hub of global trade. Listening to Laredo is an exploration of how the dizzying forces of change have defined this locale, how they continue to be inscribed and celebrated, and how their effects on the physical landscape have shaped the identity of the city and its people.
Bringing together issues of growth, globalization, and identity, Mehnaaz Momen traces Laredo’s trajectory through the voices of its people. In contrast to the many studies of border cities defined by the outside—and seldom by the people who live at the border—this volume collects oral history from seventy-five in-depth interviews that collectively illuminate the evolution of the city’s cultural and economic infrastructure, its interdependence with its sister city across the national boundary, and above all the strength of its community as it adapts to and even challenges the national narrative regarding the border. The resonant and lively voices of Laredo’s people convey proud ownership of an archetypal border city that has time and again resurrected itself.