Parker Abt

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20182019 Forum on Stuff

Parker Abt

Executive Board, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum


CAS, 2019

Parker is a senior majoring in History. His primary academic interest is the intersection of American legal and economic history. His historical research has been published in the Gettysburg Historical Journal, The Michigan Journal of History, and others.  Working with the American Enterprise Institute and Penn’s Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy, Parker has authored op-eds on public policy with national media organizations. In his free time, Parker likes to watch ice hockey and record rock music.

Third World America: The Drive to Own a Home in the Colonias of Hidalgo County, Texas

Colonias are impoverished communities near the US-Mexico border outside the jurisdiction of cities. They lack basic services like potable water, drainage systems, indoor plumbing, or emergency services. The economic realities of the border region created the need for colonias in the Lower Rio Grande Valley around 1950. Despite their deficiencies, colonias were culturally acceptable, which allowed their numbers to grow until the 1980s when hundreds of thousands called them home. In that decade, colonia families rallied to bring $500 million in state funding to build the basic infrastructure their communities lacked. Analyzing the history of community organizing in the colonias up to this victory demonstrates that even the poorest of Americans could make massive gains through engaging the political systems of the late twentieth century.