New Britain Herald Clippings & Personal Photos

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Title

New Britain Herald Clippings & Personal Photos

Subject

Puerto Rican women
Puerto Ricans—United States

Description

These are various newspaper clippings and photographs announcing the winner of the pageant to name the Queen of the Puerto Rican Festival. The pageant was held at the Puerto Rican Club in New Britain, CT, and the festival was held on Jul 16, 1988. A corresponding interview was conducted with Julia Rodriguez, who donated the items, and three other community and family members.

During the corresponding interview, three key topics were brought up: 1. All interviewees held a large amount of pride for being involved with what they referred to as the First Puerto Rican Festival 2. Julia Rodriguez expressed significant pride for the successes of her daughters, not just her daughter Mildred winning the pageant and being named Queen, but also the career paths of her and her twin daughter. 3. The Puerto Rican community as a whole had come to the central Connecticut area for farm work in the mid 1950’s, then moved into the cities of New Britain and Plainville for better paying industrial jobs in the late 1960’s and 1970’s.

Employers that provided high numbers of Puerto Rican employment were noted as Plainville Casting, Stanley Works, General Electric in Plainville, and New Britain Machine. Essentially, the Puerto Rican community that had moved from farming in central Connecticut to industrial work in the cities were then able to put the next generation through college and on to what they considered to be an improved way of life. Unfortunately, with the closure of those employers and the loss of nearly all industrial jobs, the community today finds that they no longer have the resources to provide for their children as they had in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Much of the Puerto Rican community in central Connecticut first emigrated from Puerto Rico to work in the tobacco fields, beginning shortly after the end of World War II (ConnecticutHistory.org). Ruth Glasser’s article Tobacco Valley: Puerto Rican Farm Workers in Connecticut describes a nearly identical story to the one told by the interviewees. In it, she details the emigration from Puerto Rico to the Hartford area specifically for farming jobs, and how Hartford was the second largest recipient of Puerto Rican farmhands in the country at the time. However, the working conditions were very bad, and the workers wanted a better way of life, which led to their moving to the cities in search of industrial jobs (Glasser, 2002). Mrs. Rodriguez and the rest of the interviewees took this description and added to it, going beyond the move to the cities in the 1970’s and into the decline of the community in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

In the interview, Mrs. Rodriguez describes the pride that she feels for her daughters and their various successes. This feeling coincides with what is described in the fourth chapter of Ruth Glasser’s book, Aqui Me Quedo: Puerto Ricans in Connecticut. In it, she describes the desire for parents to provide more opportunity for their children, specifically when it came to the role of pionero children, or the first generation of children who will fully assimilate into their new surroundings. (Glasser, 1997) This same pattern of assimilation was identified across the entire continental United States in the late 1980’s, and was noted specifically by John Macisco in a very detailed study (Macisco).

This transition from farming to industry and then to decline once the industrial jobs dried up was not just prevalent in Hartford, but also in other cities such as New York and Orlando (Acosta-Belen). In New Britain, population models show a steady increase in the Puerto Rican population in the Hartford area, with the majority in New Britain, from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. However, this growth plateaued in the 1990’s then began to show a decline in the 2000’s (Census).
Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context: 

Primary Sources:
U.S. Census Bureau. "Social and Labor Force Characteristics of Spanish Origin Persons." Census of Population and Housing. 1970

U.S. Census Bureau. "Social and Labor Force Characteristics of Spanish Origin Persons." Census of Population and Housing. 1980

U.S. Census Bureau. "Social and Labor Force Characteristics of Spanish Origin Persons." Census of Population and Housing. 1990

ConnecticutHistory.org. 2015. Connecticut History. Aug 22. Accessed May 9, 2017. https://connecticuthistory.org/windsor-tobacco-made-in-the-shade/.

Secondary Sources:
Acosta-Belen, Edna and Carlos E. Santiago. Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Contemporary Portrait. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2006.

Glasser, Ruth. Aqui Me Quedo: Puerto Ricans in Connecticut. Connecticut Humanities Council, 1997

Glasser, Ruth. "Tobacco Valley: Puerto Rican Farm Workers in Connecticut." Connecticut Explored, 2002.

Macisco, John J, Jr. Assimilation of the Puerto Ricans on the Mainland: A Socio-Demographic Approach. New York: Center for Migration Studies of New York, 1968.

Entry Author: Charles Carlin

Creator

New Britain Herald, CT; Julia Rodriguez

Source

New Britain Herald; The Personal Collection of Julia Rodriguez

Publisher

New Britain Herald; Julia Rodriguez

Date

Creation Date: c. 1988 (Newspaper articles)
Accession Date: April 6, 2017

Contributor

Julia Rodriguez

Rights

Copyright to this resource is held by the New Britain Herald and Julia Rodriguez and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.

Relation

History Harvest 2017 Interview with Julia Rodriguez

Format

PDF Images of photos and documents

Language

English and Spanish

Type

Text; Still Image

Identifier

History Harvest 2017, Object #4a-f (formerly object #14).

Coverage

New Britain, CT; Connecticut; 1988; 1980s; 2017; 2010s; 20th century; 21st century.

Original Format

Newsprint Articles; Photographs

Collection

Citation

New Britain Herald, CT; Julia Rodriguez , “New Britain Herald Clippings & Personal Photos,” Latino History Harvest, accessed June 17, 2024, https://library.ccsu.edu/latinohistoryharvest/items/show/12.

Output Formats