Siler City, North Carolina, used to be the kind of town where almost everyone, black or white, had roots going back a century or more. Characters on the Andy Griffith Show mentioned Siler City, and the actor who played Aunt Bee retired there because it reminded her of Mayberry. It was just about the last place a Spanish-speaking immigrant was likely to land. That started to change in the 1990s.
Today, thanks to jobs in the chicken industry that no one else wants, Siler City's population is about half Latino. Many longtime residents say they’re not especially troubled by the fact that many Latino workers are undocumented. What does make some uneasy is the way this new population is transforming the racial and cultural flavor of their town. John Biewen and Tennessee Watson of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University produced this portrait of a town in transition: Nuevo South.
Produced by John Biewen and Tennessee Watson of CDS Radio
Edited by Catherine Winter, American RadioWorks