Intended to be “socially significant,” this piece consisted of a poem and captioned photographs of Mexican Bethlehem Steel employees. While it was supposed to be critical of the way Mexican immigrants were overlooked by Lehigh students and undervalued by Bethlehem Steel, the article was heavily criticized by students in the The Brown and White, social workers in the community, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and the Mexican workers themselves. The steel company claimed that the Mexican immigrants were brought in to meet work shortages rather than to break a strike. Social workers objected to the insensitivity implied by the poem since many community members were trying to help the Mexican steel workers.

The Lehigh Review posted a response to the backlash in its next issue, in which it clarified the irony of the poem. Featured here is the original poem, student responses from The Brown and White, and the Review’s eventual response. By keeping and displaying articles like this, despite the controversy it caused at publication, the library hopes to provide a more complete view of how the topic of immigration was discussed among the Lehigh and Bethlehem communities.

Frank Norris, Joe Boyle, and Louis Stouman
Lehigh Review, “Coco-a.”
Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University, 1939.

The Brown and White, “Review Trouble,” “Review Poem Causes Plaint,” “Review Troubles.”
Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University, 1939.

Lehigh University Catalog Record: https://asa.lib.lehigh.edu/Record/717052

A version of this text has been digitized and is available through the Internet Archive.

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