Puerto Rican Citizen: History And Political Identity In Twentieth-century New York City

Paperback | March 17, 2014

byLorrin Thomas

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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.

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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...

Lorrin Thomas is associate professor of history at Rutgers University, Camden.

other books by Lorrin Thomas

Rethinking The Puerto Rican Movement
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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:March 17, 2014Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022615176X

ISBN - 13:9780226151762

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Puerto Ricans, Citizenship, and Recognition

One New Citizens of New York

Community Organization and Political Culture in the Twenties

Two Confronting Race in the Metropole

Racial Ascription and Racial Discourse during the Depression

Three Pursuing the Promise of the New Deal

Relief and the Politics of Nationalism in the Thirties

Four How to Represent the Postwar Migration

The Liberal Establishment, the Puerto Rican Left, and the “Puerto Rican Problem”

Five How to Study the Postwar Migrant

Social Science, Puerto Ricans, and Social Problems

Six “Juan Q. Citizen,” Aspirantes, and Young Lords

Youth Activism in a New World


Epilogue

From Colonial Citizen to Nuyorican

Notes

Index

Editorial Reviews

“Thomas’ book has been justly praised. With the aid of multiple sources, from statistical data to oral accounts and personal records, she traces the often messy story of Puerto Ricans in New York City from the 1917 statute that made them U.S. citizens to the early 1970s.”