Histories of the Puerto Rican experience
The Puerto Rican Diaspora
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edited by Carmen Teresa Whalen and Víctor Vázquez-Hernández
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 2006
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 eraduring which communities flourished throughout the Midwest and New Englandthe 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.
"This is an excellent, comprehensive collection of community histories across the Puerto Rican diaspora. To gather such a broad spectrum of Puerto Rican life from Boston to Hawai'i is a major accomplishment. The narratives bring into focus central aspects of the migratory and settlement process, and illuminate the resilience of a community often overlooked."
"Each study can be read alone, but taken together as a chronicle of a people scattered widely across the Americas over time and space, this collection of original essays produces a very satisfying encounter with a demographic phenomenon both familiar and new. Whalen bookends the volume with excellent historical overview and conclusion. The writing throughout is clear and jargon free, and select photos enliven the narratives. Summing Up: Highly Recommended."
"In her introduction, Carmen Teresa Whalen provided an excellent social and economic history on the process of Puerto Rican migration to the United States during the twentieth century...This is an excellent book that will potentially serve a diverse audience in the United States of those who study migration and social microhistories of such communities. It is a unique and extraordinary effort, offering a brief and accessible social and political history of distinct Puerto Rican settlements in the United States. The contributors provided a rich amount of bibliographic sources, particularly in English, which will benefit undergraduate classes on migration and Puerto Rican communities."
"One of the values of this book is its focus on the history of the many other cities and communities the nearly four million Puerto Ricans in the United States live and work in."
“Carmen Teresa Whalen and Víctor Vázquez-Hernández’s valuable anthology recognizes [sic] the growing dispersal and complexity of Puerto Rican migration….The Puerto Rican Diaspora draws on an impressive array of primary sources, including government documents, oral histories, interviews, memoirs, newspaper articles, participant observation, and photographs…. [T]his well-grounded collection manages to reconstruct the diasporic experience from the migrants’ standpoint. Thus, it paints a sympathetic, intimate and vivid portrayal of Puerto Rican community life both past and present. The Puerto Rican Diaspora is a well-chosen and carefully edited collection on immigrant settlements beyond their traditional core in New York City.”
"The [book] seeks to correct two misreadings of Puerto Rican American history: the assumptions that Puerto Ricans are recent migrants and that their migration has been to New York City, the post World War II 'Newyorican' phenomenon. The book does that successfully, in the sense that it identifies the early individuals who located in the cities under examination, and, more notably, in its tracking of the rise of the Puerto Rican communities of the various cities and states.... The book is a good introduction to the history of Puerto Ricans in the United States."
Carmen Teresa Whalen is Associate Professor of History at Williams College and author of From Puerto Rico to Philadelphia: Puerto Rican Workers and Postwar Economies (Temple, 2001).
Víctor Vázquez-Hernández is Assistant Professor of History at Miami Dade College.
Contributors: Linda C. Delgado, The College of Mt. St. Vincent; Ruth Glasser, University of Connecticut; Iris O. López, City College of New York; Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Hunter College; Eugenio "Gene" Rivera; Maura Toro-Morn, Illinois State University; Olga Jiménez Wagenheim, Rutgers University, Newark; and the editors.