Ellen Bigler Temple University Press, 1999 Library of Congress LC1099.3.B477 1999 | Dewey Decimal 370.1170973
Growing numbers of working-class Puerto Ricans are migrating from larger mainland metropolitan areas into smaller, "safer" communities in search of a better quality of life for themselves and their families. What they may also encounter in moving to such communities is a discourse of exclusion that associates their differences and their lower socioeconomic class with a lack of effort and an unwillingness to assimilate into mainstream culture. In this ethnographic study of a community in conflict, educator and anthropologist Ellen Bigler examines such discourses as she explores one city's heated dispute that arose over bringing multiculturalism and bilingual education into their lives and their schools' curricula.
The impassioned debate that erupted between long-time white ethnic residents and more recently arrived Puerto Rican citizens in the de-industrialized city the author calls "Arnhem" was initially sparked by one school board member's disparaging comments about Latinos. The conflict led to an investigation by the attempts to implement multicultural reforms in the city's schools. American Conversations follows the ensuing conflict, looks at the history of racial formation in the United States, and considers the specific economic and labor histories of the groups comprising the community in opposition. Including interviews with students, teachers, parents, and community leaders, as well as her own observations of exchanges among them inside and outside the classroom, Bigler's book explores the social positions, diverging constructions of history, and polarized understandings of contemporary racial/ethnic dynamics in Arnhem. Through her retelling of one community's crisis, Bigler illuminates the nature of racial politics in the United States and how both sides in the debate over multicultural education struggle to find a common language.
American Conversations will appeal to anyone invested in education and multiculturalism in the United States as well as those interested in anthropology, sociology, racial and ethnic studies, educational institutions, migration and settlement, the effects of industrial restructuring, and broad issues of community formation and conflict.
J. L. Torres 2Leaf Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3620.O62A6 2014
BORICUA PASSPORT evokes the complex in-betweeness that represents the contemporary Puerto Rican condition as filtered through the prism of poet J.L. Torres' life experience. For many Puerto Ricans the sense of being unhomed—having a homeland but not really feeling at home anywhere—is a real lived experience determined by a persisting and unsettled colonial condition. In BORICUA PASSPORT, Torres, screams, shouts, rejoices, celebrates, tickles and challenges with a poetry sprinkled with Spanish/Spanglish that is immediate and urgent. His is a testimony to the indefatigable Puerto Rican spirit which, although burdened by this colonial condition, still strives to cobble a hybrid world full of love, passion and hope. BORICUA PASSPORT will transport any reader into this limbo world with all its fascinating incongruities and descriptive vistas. It's your passport into a world simultaneously real and imaginary, one most people don't even know exists. A must read!
Brown in the Windy City is the first history to examine the migration and settlement of Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in postwar Chicago. Lilia Fernández reveals how the two populations arrived in Chicago in the midst of tremendous social and economic change and, in spite of declining industrial employment and massive urban renewal projects, managed to carve out a geographic and racial place in one of America’s great cities. Through their experiences in the city’s central neighborhoods over the course of these three decades, Fernández demonstrates how Mexicans and Puerto Ricans collectively articulated a distinct racial position in Chicago, one that was flexible and fluid, neither black nor white.
Marc Zimmerman works from a theoretical frame of cultural, postcolonial, and diasporic studies to compare the artistic experiences and cultural production of Puerto Ricans with that of Chicanos and Cuban Americans. As he shows, even supposedly mainstream U.S. Puerto Ricans participate in a performative culture that embodies elements of possible cultural "Ricanstruction." Zimmerman examines a spectrum of U.S. Puerto Rican artistic life, including relations with other ethnic groups and resistance to colonialism and cultural assimilation. To illustrate how Puerto Ricans have survived and created new identities and relations out of their colonized and diasporic circumstances, Zimmerman looks at the cultural examples of Latino entertainment stars like Jennifer Lopez and Benicio del Toro; visual artists Juan Sánchez, Ramón Flores, and Elizam Escobar; and a group of Chicago Puerto Rican writers.
Small-scale fishing, a house-hold based enterprise in Puerto Rico, rarely provides sufficient income for a family, but it anchors their culture and sense of themselves within that culture. Even when family members must engage in wage work to supplement house-hold income, they think of themselves as fishers. Liche typifies these wage workers: "When he was quite young, he left the island to struggle in other lands, to work, to raise a family, to send home the money he earned. Ten, twenty, thirty years passed...during which he did not once fish or even see the ocean. But in a boat-building factory in New Jersey, in a bakery in the Bronx, on the production line of a chemical factory, on dozens of construction sites, every single day he made a mental review of the waters, the isles and cays ...and entertained no thought that was not related to his return."
Fishers at Work, Workers at Sea describes Puerto Rican fishing families as they negotiate homeland and diaspora. It considers how wage work affects their livelihoods and identities at home and how these independent producers move in and out of global commodity markets. Drawing on some 100 life histories and years of fieldwork, David Griffith and Manuel Valdés Pizzini have developed a complex, often moving portrait of the men and women who fiercely struggle to hang onto the coastal landscapes and cultural heritage tied to the Caribbean Sea.
"We were poor but we had everything we needed," reminisces Dona Epifania. Nonetheless, when a man she knew told her about a job in Philadelphia, she grasped the opportunity to leave Coamas. "He went to Puerto Rico and told me there were beans to cook. I came here and cooked for fourteen workers." In San Lorenzo, Dona Carmen and her husband made the same decision: "We didn't want to, nobody wanted to leave....There wasn't any alternative." Don Florencio recalls that in Salinas work had gotten scarce, "especially for the youth, the young men....The farmworker that was used to cutting cane, already the sugar cane was disappearing," and government licensing regulations made fishing "more difficult for the poor."
Puerto Rican migration to the mainland following World War II took place for a range of reasons -- globalization of the economy, the colonial relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, state policies, changes in regional and local economies, social networks, and, not least, the decisions made by individual immigrants. In this wide-ranging book, Carmen Whalen weaves them all into a tapestry of Puerto Rican immigration to Philadelphia.
Like African Americans and Mexicans, Puerto Ricans were recruited for low-wage jobs, only to confront racial discrimination as well as economic restructuring. As Whalen shows, they were part of that wave of newcomers who came from areas in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia characterized by a heavy U.S. military and economic presence, especially export processing zones looking for a new life in depressed urban environments already populated by earlier labor migrants. But Puerto Rican in-migration was also unique, especially in its regional and gender dimensions. Many migrants came as part of contract labor programs shaped by competing agendas.
By the 1990s, economic conditions, government policies, and racial ideologies had transformed Puerto Rican labor migrants into what has been called "the other underclass." The author analyzes this continuation of "culture and poverty" interpretations and contrasts it with the efforts of Philadelphia's Puerto Ricans to recreate their communities and deal with the impact of economic restructuring and residential segregation in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Diamonds are a Chicago Street gang whose members are second-generation Puerto Rican youths. For Felix Padilla the young men who join the Diamonds have made a logical choice. The gang is an alternative and dependable route to emotional support, self-respect, material goods, and upward mobility. Although Padilla shares the same ethnic background as the gang members and also grew up in a Chicago barrio, gaining the trust of the Diamonds was not easy. But eventually he was able to get close enough to the members to interview and observe them.
Padilla shows us the process behind the decision to join the Diamonds. From early childhood, boys develop positive images of the gang. They realize that the dominant culture promises mobility, but that their paths to that mobility are blocked. By joining a gang they can creatively oppose the dominant culture.
Padilla does not paint a romanticized picture of the Diamonds. Some members come to understand that when they sell drugs, they benefit the gang's leaders and suppliers more than themselves. Further, they recognize that the gang is also subject to problems of domination and inequality. Padilla shows that though the Diamonds are sometimes violent, they are not psychopaths. While we need not approve of what they do, Padilla urges us to understand it as a rational response to the doors these young men see closed around them.
On the surface, identity politics appears to promote polarization. To the contrary, political scientist Jose E. Cruz argues that, instead, fragmentation and instability are more likely to occur only when the differences are ignored and nonethnic strategies are employed. Cruz illustrates his claim by focusing on one group of Puerto Ricans and how they mobilized to demand accountability from political leaders in Hartford, Connecticut.
The activities of the Puerto Rican Political Action Committee from 1983 to 1991 illustrate the power of ethnic mobilization and strategy in an urban setting. Cruz examines their insistence on their right to be included in the political process in the context of both a typical mid-sized American city and the unique attributes of Hartford's predominantly white-collar population. At the same time, this study acknowledges the limitations of the exercise of such power in the political process.
Through extensive interviews Cruz brings to light the variety of ways in which politicians and political activists themselves view their own activities and achievements. This group of Puerto Rican activists attempted to penetrate the power structure of Hartford. Though their success was limited, their work constitutes a springboard for further change.
Since the 1960s, Nuyorican poets have explored and performed Puerto Rican identity both on and off the page. Emerging within and alongside the civil rights movements of the 1960s, the foundational Nuyorican writers sought to counter the ethnic/racial and institutional invisibility of New York City Puerto Ricans by documenting the reality of their communities in innovative and sometimes challenging ways. Since then, Nuyorican poetry has entered the U.S. Latino literary canon and has gained prominence in light of the spoken-word revival of the past two decades, a movement spearheaded by the Nuyorican Poetry Slams of the 1990s. Today, Nuyorican poetry engages with contemporary social issues such as the commodification of the body, the institutionalization of poetry, the gentrification of the barrio, and the national and global marketing of identity. What has not changed is a continued shared investment in a poetics that links the written word and the performing body.
The first book-length study specifically devoted to Nuyorican poetry, In Visible Movement is unique in its historical and formal breadth, ranging from the foundational poets of the 1960s and 1970s to a variety of contemporary poets emerging in and around the Nuyorican Poets Cafe “slam” scene of the 1990s and early 2000s. It also unearths a largely unknown corpus of poetry performances, reading over forty years of Nuyorican poetry at the intersection of the printed and performed word, underscoring the poetry’s links to vernacular and Afro-Puerto Rican performance cultures, from the island’s oral poets to the New York sounds and rhythms of Latin boogaloo, salsa, and hip-hop. With depth and insight, Urayoán Noel analyzes various canonical Nuyorican poems by poets such as Pedro Pietri, Victor Hernández Cruz, Miguel Algarín, Miguel Piñero, Sandra María Esteves, and Tato Laviera. He discusses historically overlooked poets such as Lorraine Sutton, innovative poets typically read outside the Nuyorican tradition such as Frank Lima and Edwin Torres, and a younger generation of Nuyorican-identified poets including Willie Perdomo, María Teresa Mariposa Fernández, and Emanuel Xavier, whose work has received only limited critical consideration. The result is a stunning reflection of how New York Puerto Rican poets have addressed the complexity of identity amid diaspora for over forty years.
"One of the year's best books on Puerto Rico."—El Nuevo Dia, San Juan "[The authors] are highly regarded labor economists who have written extensively and intelligently in the past, and again in this volume, on Puerto Rican migration and labor markets... There isabundant statistical data and careful analysis, some of which challenges the conventional wisdom. Highly recommended." —Choice Island Paradox is the first comprehensive, census-based portrait of social and economic life in Puerto Rico. During its nearly fiftyyears as a U.S. commonwealth, the relationship between Puerto Rico's small, developing economy and the vastly larger, more industrialized United States has triggered profound changes in the island's industry and labor force. Puerto Rico has been deeply affected by the constant flow of its people to and from the mainland, and by the influx of immigrant workers from other nations. Distinguished economists Francisco Rivera-Batiz and Carlos Santiago provide the latest data on the socioeconomic status of Puerto Rico today, and examine current conditions within the context of the major trends of the past two decades. Island Paradox describes many improvements in Puerto Rico's standard of living, including rising per-capita income, longer life expectancies, greater educational attainment, and increased job prospects for women. But it also discusses the devastating surge in unemployment. Rapid urbanization and a vanishing agricultural sector have led to severe inequality, as family income has become increasingly dependent on education and geographic location. Although Puerto Rico's close ties to the United States were the major source of the island's economic growth prior to 1970, they have also been at the root of recent hardships. Puerto Rico's trade andbusiness transactions remain predominantly with the United States, but changes in federal tax, social, and budgetary policies, along with international agreements such as NAFTA, now threaten to alter the economic ties between the island and the mainland. Island Paradox reveals the social and family changes that have occurred among Puerto Ricans on the island and the mainland. The significant decline in the island's population growth is traced in part to women's increased pursuit of educational and employment opportunities before marrying. More children are being raised by singleparents, but this stems from a higher divorce rate and not a rise in teenage pregnancy. The widespread circular migration to and from the United States has had strong repercussions for the island's labor markets and social balance, leading to concerns about an island brain drain. The Puerto Rican population in the United States hasbecome increasingly diverse, less regionally concentrated and not, as some have claimed, in danger of becoming an underclass. Within a single generation Puerto Rico has experienced social and economic shifts of an unprecedented magnitude. Island Paradox charts Puerto Rico's economic fortunes, summarizes the major demographic trends, and identifies the issues that will have the strongest bearings on Puerto Rico's prospects for a successful future. A Volume in the Russell Sage Foundation Census Series
In the early 1900s, workers from new U.S. colonies in the Philippines and Puerto Rico held unusual legal status. Denied citizenship, they nonetheless had the right to move freely in and out of U.S. jurisdiction. As a result, Filipinos and Puerto Ricans could seek jobs in the United States and its territories despite the anti-immigration policies in place at the time.
JoAnna Poblete's Islanders in the Empire: Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai'i takes an in-depth look at how the two groups fared in a third new colony, Hawai'i. Using plantation documents, missionary records, government documents, and oral histories, Poblete analyzes how the workers interacted with Hawaiian government structures and businesses, how U.S. policies for colonial workers differed from those for citizens or foreigners, and how policies aided corporate and imperial interests.
A rare tandem study of two groups at work on foreign soil, Islanders in the Empire offers a new perspective on American imperialism and labor issues of the era.
LAST OF THE PO'RICANS Y OTROS AFRO-ARTIFACTS, the debut poetry collection of Not4Prophet, provides an incredible verbal and musical profusion of poetry that reflects the cultural landscapes of the perpetual islands of Puerto Rican and New York City through the eyes of a Puerto Rican born in Ponce, living in El Barrio/East Harlem and the South Bronx. As he elaborates this otherness, which includes the hassles of poverty, racial pride and racial discord, Not4Prophet pays homage to the old school cats from the Nuyorican and Black Arts movements. Written in free verse and layered with cultural and historical references, LAST OF THE PO'RICANS Y OTROS AFRO-ARTIFACTS breaks boundaries and challenges us with iconic imagery and word play that dares to speak of the unspeakable. Vagabond's agit-pop artwork creates a powerful visual to Not4Prophet's raging verse.
This study reclaims and builds upon the classic work of anthropologist Elena Padilla in an effort to examine constructions of space and identity among Latinos. The volume includes an annotated edition of Padilla's 1947 University of Chicago master's thesis, "Puerto Rican Immigrants in New York and Chicago: A Study in Comparative Assimilation," which broke with traditional urban ethnographies and examined racial identities and interethnic relations. Weighing the importance of gender and the interplay of labor, residence, and social networks, Padilla examined the integration of Puerto Rican migrants into the social and cultural life of the larger community where they settled. Also included are four comparative and interdisciplinary original essays that foreground the significance of Padilla's early study about Latinos in Chicago. Contributors discuss the implications of her groundbreaking contributions to urban ethnographic traditions and to the development of Puerto Rican studies and Latina/o studies.
Contributors are Nicholas De Genova, Zaire Z. Dinzey-Flores, Elena Padilla, Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas, Mérida M. Rúa, and Arlene Torres.
In this book, Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas explores how Puerto Ricans in Chicago construct and perform nationalism. Contrary to characterizations of nationalism as a primarily unifying force, Ramos-Zayas finds that it actually provides the vocabulary to highlight distinctions along class, gender, racial, and generational lines among Puerto Ricans, as well as between Puerto Ricans and other Latino, black, and white populations.
Drawing on extensive ethnographic research, Ramos-Zayas shows how the performance of Puerto Rican nationalism in Chicago serves as a critique of social inequality, colonialism, and imperialism, allowing barrio residents and others to challenge the notion that upward social mobility is equally available to all Americans—or all Puerto Ricans. Paradoxically, however, these activists' efforts also promote upward social mobility, overturning previous notions that resentment and marginalization are the main results of nationalist strategies.
Ramos-Zayas's groundbreaking work allows her here to offer one of the most original and complex analyses of contemporary nationalism and Latino identity in the United States.
The Young Lords was a multi-ethnic, though primarily Nuyorican, liberation organization that formed in El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) in July of 1969. Responding to oppressive approaches to the health, educational, and political needs of the Puerto Rican community, the movement’s revolutionary activism included organized protests and sit-ins targeting such concerns as trash pickups and lead paint hazards. The Young Lords advanced a thirteen-point political program that demanded community control of their institutions and land and challenged the exercise of power by the state and outsider-run institutions.
In The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation, Darrel Wanzer-Serrano details the numerous community initiatives that advanced decolonial sensibilities in El Barrio and beyond. Using archival research and interviews, he crafts an engaging account of the Young Lords’ discourse and activism. He rescues the organization from historical obscurity and makes an argument for its continued relevance, enriching and informing contemporary discussions about Latino/a politics.
The Nuyorican Poets Café has for the past forty years provided a space for multicultural artistic expression and a platform for the articulation of Puerto Rican and black cultural politics. The Café’s performances—poetry, music, hip hop, comedy, and drama—have been studied in detail, but until now, little attention has been paid to the voices of its women artists. Through archival research and interview, Nuyorican Feminist Performance examines the contributions of 1970s and ’80s performeras and how they challenged the Café’s gender politics. It also looks at recent artists who have built on that foundation with hip hop performances that speak to contemporary audiences. The book spotlights the work of foundational artists such as Sandra María Esteves, Martita Morales, Luz Rodríguez, and Amina Muñoz, before turning to contemporary artists La Bruja, Mariposa, Aya de León, and Nilaja Sun, who infuse their poetry and solo pieces with both Nuyorican and hip hop aesthetics.
PAPOLiTICO, POEMS OF A POLITICAL PERSUASION is award-winning poet Jesus Papoleto Melendez' sixth book of poetry. Witty, wise, personal and political, Melendez, often weary of the social issues and politics of the day, has created an exciting compilation of new and previously published poems in a collection that he has daringly named after himself to nudge people out of complacency. His poetry is written with satirical and ironic wit, presented in a "cascading” style that dictates the beat and rhythm of his poems he has become known for. This volume contains some of Melendez' classic poems, like "A San Diego Southern/African Night,” with new poems that are a bit edgier and challenge the status quo. Despite the frustrations and harsh realities we live in today, Melendez maintains an eternal belief that it is never too late for our future to be changed for the better, making PAPOLiTICO a poetic call for tolerance, reflection, reconciliation, and healing.
By the end of the 1920s, just ten years after the Jones Act first made them full-fledged Americans, more than 45,000 native Puerto Ricans had left their homes and entered the United States, citizenship papers in hand, forming one of New York City’s most complex and distinctive migrant communities. In Puerto Rican Citizen, Lorrin Thomas for the first time unravels the many tensions—historical, racial, political, and economic—that defined the experience of this group of American citizens before and after World War II.
Building its incisive narrative from a wide range of archival sources, interviews, and first-person accounts of Puerto Rican life in New York, this book illuminates the rich history of a group that is still largely invisible to many scholars. At the center of Puerto Rican Citizen are Puerto Ricans’ own formulations about political identity, the responses of activists and ordinary migrants to the failed promises of American citizenship, and their expectations of how the American state should address those failures. Complicating our understanding of the discontents of modern liberalism, of race relations beyond black and white, and of the diverse conceptions of rights and identity in American life, Thomas’s book transforms the way we understand this community’s integral role in shaping our sense of citizenship in twentieth-century America.
Puerto Ricans have a long history of migrating to and building communities in various parts of the United States in search of a better life. From their arrival in Hawai'i in 1900 to the post-World War II era—during which communities flourished throughout the Midwest and New England—the Puerto Rican diaspora has been growing steadily. In fact, the 2000 census shows that almost as many Puerto Ricans live in the United States as in Puerto Rico itself.The contributors to this volume provide an overview of the Puerto Rican experience in America, delving into particular aspects of colonization and citizenship, migration and community building. Each chapter bridges the historical past with contemporary issues. Throughout the text, personal narratives and photographs bring these histories to life, while grappling with underlying causes and critical issues such as racism and employment that shape Puerto Rican life in America.
Little attention has been paid to the Latino movements of the 1960s and 1970s in the literature of social movements. This volume is the first significant look at the organizations of the Puerto Rican movement, which emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s as a response to U.S. colonialism on the island and to the poverty and discrimination faced by most Puerto Ricans on the mainland.
To combat these two problems, and drawing n a tradition of patriotism and social responsibility, a number of organizations grew up, including the Young Lords Party (YLP), which later evolved into the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization; the Pro Independence Movement (MPI), which evolved into the U.S> branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party; El Comite; the Puerto Rican Student Union (PRSU); the Movement for National Liberation (MLN); and the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). THe Puerto Rican Movement looks at all these groups as specific organizations of real people in such places as Boston, Chicago, Hartford, New York, and Philadelphia.
The contributors, almost all of whom were involved with the organizations they describe, provide detailed descriptions and historical analyses of the Puerto Rican Left. Interviews with such key figures as Elizam Escobar, Piri Thomas, and Luis Fuentes, as well as accounts by people active in the gay/lesbian, African American, and white Left movements add a vivid picture of why and how people became radicalized and how their ideals intersected with their group's own dynamics.
These critical assessments highlight each organization's accomplishments and failures and illuminate how different sets of people, in different circumstances, respond to social problems -- in this case, the "national question" and the issues of social justice and movement politics.
As the first book to document the experiences of Puerto Ricans in the state of Illinois, this inviting book maps the pedacito de patria (little piece of home) that many Puerto Ricans have carved from the bitter hardships faced in Illinois. Authors Maura Toro-Morn and Ivis García illustrate the multiple paradoxes underlying the experience of Puerto Ricans in Illinois: an island people in a heartland state, native-born citizens living an immigrant’s experience, climate refugees in the Midwest. They live a vaivén (coming and going). This volume partially exposes these paradoxes through a narrative of common survival and achievement. Along the proud Paseo Boricua (Puerto Rican Promenade) in Chicago and in smaller cities around the state, Puerto Ricans find and create the means to keep their national identity while contributing to the health and wealth of their adopted state.
From the voices of the people, the authors offer readers an opportunity to learn about the history of Puerto Rico, the migration of Puerto Ricans to Illinois, and the cultural, economic, and political contributions of the Puerto Rican women, men, and families that call Illinois home. In Chicago and across the heartland, Puerto Ricans have negotiated the gap between home and country, mobilized state-wide against the federal government’s virtual abandonment in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. A compelling weave of scholarship summary, archival research, and extensive sociological study including interviews conducted across the state, the book documents just how much many fail to know about a growing and transforming community in Illinois. The stories of Puerto Ricans are here.
Most studies of Puerto Rico’s relations with the United States have focused on the sugar industry, recounting a tale of victimization and imperial abuse driven by the interests of U.S. sugar companies. But inPuerto Ricans in the Empire, Teresita A. Levy looks at a different agricultural sector, tobacco growing, and tells a story in which Puerto Ricans challenged U.S. officials and fought successfully for legislation that benefited the island.
Levy describes how small-scale, politically involved, independent landowners grew most of the tobacco in Puerto Rico. She shows how, to gain access to political power, tobacco farmers joined local agricultural leagues and the leading farmers’ association, the Asociación de Agricultores Puertorriqueños (AAP). Through their affiliation with the AAP, they successfully lobbied U.S. administrators in San Juan and Washington, participated in government-sponsored agricultural programs, solicited agricultural credit from governmental sources, and sought scientific education in a variety of public programs, all to boost their share of the tobacco-leaf market in the United States. By their own efforts, Levy argues, Puerto Ricans demanded and won inclusion in the empire, in terms that were defined not only by the colonial power, but also by the colonized.
The relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States was undoubtedly colonial in nature, but, as Puerto Ricans in the Empire shows, it was not unilateral. It was a dynamic, elastic, and ever-changing interaction, where Puerto Ricans actively participated in the economic and political processes of a negotiated empire.
Exploring cultural expressions of Puerto Rican queer migration from the Caribbean to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes analyzes how artists have portrayed their lives and the discrimination they have faced in both Puerto Rico and the United States.
Highlighting cultural and political resistance within Puerto Rico’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender subcultures, La Fountain-Stokes pays close attention to differences of gender, historical moment, and generation, arguing that Puerto Rican queer identity changes over time and is experienced in very different ways. He traces an arc from 1960s Puerto Rico and the writings of Luis Rafael Sánchez to New York City in the 1970s and 1980s (Manuel Ramos Otero), Philadelphia and New Jersey in the 1980s and 1990s (Luz María Umpierre and Frances Negrón-Muntaner), and Chicago (Rose Troche) and San Francisco (Erika López) in the 1990s, culminating with a discussion of Arthur Avilés and Elizabeth Marrero’s recent dance-theater work in the Bronx.
Proposing a radical new conceptualization of Puerto Rican migration, this work reveals how sexuality has shaped and defined the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.
Race and Nation in Puerto Rican Folklore: Franz Boas and John Alden Mason in Porto Rico explores the historic research trip taken to Puerto Rico in 1915. As a component of the Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Boas intended to perform field research in the areas of anthropology and ethnography while other scientists explored the island’s natural resources. A young anthropologist working under Boas, John Alden Mason, rescued hundreds of oral folklore samples, ranging from popular songs, poetry, conundrums, sayings, and, most particularly, folktales while documenting native Puerto Rican cultural practices. Through his extensive excursions, Mason came in touch with the rural lives of Puerto Rican peasants, the jíbaros, who served as both his cultural informants and writers of the folklore samples. These stories, many of which are still part of the island’s literary traditions and collected in a bilingual companion volume by Rafael Ocasio, reflect a strong Puerto Rican identity coalescing in the face of the U.S. political intervention on the island. A fascinating slice of Puerto Rican history and culture sure to delight any reader!
Active from the late 1960s until the mid-1990s, the U.S. branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) worked simultaneously to build support for Puerto Rican independence and to engage in radical social change within the United States.
Revolution Around the Corner chronicles this unique social movement, describing various mass campaigns and the inner workings of the organization. The editors and contributors—all former members, leaders, and supporters of the PSP—offer a range of views and interpretations of their experience.
Combining historical accounts, personal stories, interviews, and retrospective analysis, Revolution Around the Corner examines specific actions such as the National Day of Solidarity (El Acto Nacional), the Bicentennial without Colonies, the Save Hostos struggle, and the Vieques campaign. Testimonies recount the pros and cons of membership diversity, as well as issues of loyalty and compañerismo. In addition, essays describe the PSP’s participation in coalitions and alliances with Left and progressive movements. The book concludes with the editors’ reflections on the PSP’s achievements, mistakes, and contributions.
The only child of deaf Puerto Rican immigrants, Andrés Torres grew up in New York City in a large, extended family that included several deaf aunts and uncles. In Signing in Puerto Rican: A Hearing Son and His Deaf Family, he opens a window into the little known culture of Deaf Latinos chasing the immigrant American dream. Like many children of deaf adults (codas), Torres loved his parents deeply but also longed to be free from being their interpreter to the hearing world. Torres’s story is unique in that his family communicated in three languages. The gatherings of his family reverberated with “deaf talk,” in sign, Spanish, and English. What might have struck outsiders as a strange chaos of gestures and mixed spoken languages was just normal for his family.
Torres describes his early life as one of conflicting influences in his search for identity. His parents’ deep involvement in the Puerto Rican Society for the Catholic Deaf led him to study for the priesthood. He later left the seminary as his own ambitions took hold. Torres became very active in the Puerto Rico independence party against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement and protest against the Vietnam War. Throughout these defining events, Torres’s journey never took him too far from his Deaf Puerto Rican family roots and the passion of arms, hands, and fingers filling the air with simultaneous translation and understanding.
Sown in Earth is a collection of personal memories that speak to the larger experiences of hardworking migratory men. Often forgotten or silenced, these men are honored and remembered in Sown in Earth through the lens of Arroyo’s memories of his father. Arroyo recollects his father’s anger and alcohol abuse as a reflection of his place in society, in which his dreams and disappointments are patterned by work and poverty, loss and displacement, memory and belonging.
In Sown in Earth, Arroyo often roots his thoughts and feelings in place, expressing a deep connection to the small homes he inhabited in his childhood, his warm and hazy memories of his grandmother’s kitchen in Puerto Rico, the rivers and creeks he fished, and the small cafés in Madrid that inspired writing and reflection in his adult years. Swirling in romantic moments and a refined love for literature, Arroyo creates a sense of belonging and appreciation for his life despite setbacks and complex anxieties along the way.
By crafting a written journey through childhood traumas, poverty, and the impact of alcoholism on families, Fred Arroyo clearly outlines how his lived experiences led him to become a writer. Sown in Earth is a shocking yet warm collage of memories that serves as more than a memoir or an autobiography. Rather, Arroyo recounts his youth through lyrical prose to humanize and immortalize the hushed lives of men like his father, honoring their struggle and claiming their impact on the writers and artists they raised.
Puerto Rico is often left out of conversations on migration and transnationalism within the Latino context. Sponsored Migration: The State and Puerto Rican Postwar Migration to the United States by Edgardo Meléndez seeks to rectify this oversight, serving as a comprehensive study of the factors affecting Puerto Rican migration to the United States from the late 1940s to the 1960s. Examining the consequences of the perceived problem of Puerto Rican overpopulation as well as the cost of U.S. imperialism on the lives of Puerto Rican workers, Meléndez scrutinizes Puerto Rican migration in the postwar period as a microcosm of the political history of migration throughout Latin America.
Sponsored Migration places Puerto Rico’s migration policy in its historical context, examining the central role the Puerto Rican government played in encouraging and organizing migration during the postwar period. Meléndez sheds an important new light on the many ways in which the government intervened in the movement of its people: attempting to provide labor to U.S. agriculture, incorporating migrants into places like New York City, seeking to expand the island’s air transportation infrastructure, and even promoting migration in the public school system. One of the first scholars to explore this topic in depth, Meléndez illuminates how migration influenced U.S. and Puerto Rican relations from 1898 onward.
For too long the study of impoverished Puerto Ricans living in the fifty states has been undermined by the use of broad generalizations. Puerto Ricans have been statistically grouped with all Latinos, studied with models developed for understanding African-American life, and written about as if New York's Puerto Rican community was the only such community worthy of detailed study. This book changes all that. In this important new work, Susan Baker looks beyond the traditional models and rewrites the origins, current state, and reasons behind Puerto Rican poverty.The book tells the story of how Puerto Ricans have left the Rustbelt cities to return to the island or to seek job opportunities elsewhere. Those left behind are predominantly poor women with dependents who live in segregated neighborhoods with little chance of finding low-skilled jobs because of competition from non-citizen, non-politicized workers.In her alternative explanation, the author presents data from across the country and puts forth an explanation that is grounded in Puerto Rican history and sensitive not only to the interconnectedness of the island and mainland population, but also the increasing distress faced by Puerto Rican women and the sad truth that Puerto Rican citizenship in this country is a second class one.
United States of Banana: A Graphic Novel
Giannina Braschi and Joakim Lindengren Edited and with an introduction by Amanda M. Smith and Amy Sheeran The Ohio State University Press, 2021 Library of Congress PN6790.P93B738 2021 | Dewey Decimal 741.597295
“I was a monument to immigration—now I’m a border control cop.” So admits the Statue of Liberty in Giannina Braschi’s United States of Banana, a rollicking and nakedly political allegory of US imperialism and Puerto Rican independence. Illustrated by Swedish comic book artist Joakim Lindengren and based on Braschi’s epic manifesto by the same title, the story takes us along on the madcap adventures of Zarathustra, Hamlet, and Giannina herself as they rescue the Puerto Rican prisoner Segismundo from under the skirt of the Statue of Liberty. Throughout their quest, the characters debate far-ranging political and philosophical subjects, spanning terrorism, global warming, mass incarceration, revolution, and love. The Marx Brothers, Pablo Neruda, Barack Obama, Disney characters and more make appearances in this stirring call to overthrow empire, liberate the imprisoned masses, and build a new country rooted in friendship, art, poetry, and laughter.
For decades now, scholars and politicians alike have argued that the concentration of poverty in city housing projects would produce distrust, alienation, apathy, and social isolation—the disappearance of what sociologists call social capital. But relatively few have examined precisely how such poverty affects social capital or have considered for what reasons living in a poor neighborhood results in such undesirable effects.
This book examines a neglected Puerto Rican enclave in Boston to consider the pros and cons of social scientific thinking about the true nature of ghettos in America. Mario Luis Small dismantles the theory that poor urban neighborhoods are inevitably deprived of social capital. He shows that the conditions specified in this theory are vaguely defined and variable among poor communities. According to Small, structural conditions such as unemployment or a failed system of familial relations must be acknowledged as affecting the urban poor, but individual motivations and the importance of timing must be considered as well.
Brimming with fresh theoretical insights, Villa Victoria is an elegant work of sociology that will be essential to students of urban poverty.