City of New Britain Proclamation about Manuel (Manny) Reyes

#2 Prolamation- Artifact.jpg


City of New Britain Proclamation about Manuel (Manny) Reyes


Puerto Ricans
Puerto Ricans—United States
Puerto Ricans in mass media
Puerto Rican young men


In 2008 Manuel (Manny) Reyes received a Proclamation from the Mayor Timothy Stewart to honor his leadership in New Britain, Connecticut and the Puerto Rican Community. The proclamation highlighted his service in the U.S. Air force, Connecticut Army National Guard, New Britain Police Force, Spanish Speaking Center, American Red Cross, Hartford Lions Club, Hispanic American Veterans of Connecticut and Latinos for Progress. This proclamation is truly a testimony to Manny as a trailblazer in the Puerto Rican community, but his story does not only represent him. Trailblazers were crucial to the progression of Puerto Ricans in mainland America because Puerto Ricans were generally lumped together as a negative group of people according to media and press. When individuals such as Manny broke barriers they contributed to their community by representing Puerto Ricans in a positive light.

The stories of Puerto Rican trailblazers are more than just individual stories of motivated people. Trailblazers redefined what it meant to be Puerto Rican by contradicting racist stereotypes put onto them. Peter Jackson’s chapter on “ ‘A Permanent Possession?’ US Attitudes Towards Puerto Rico” traced the history of racism towards Puerto Ricans, starting in 1898 when America invaded Puerto Rico. At that time, it was believed that Puerto Ricans could not govern themselves. Through political discourse, social science research and attention from the press, Puerto Ricans were classified as lazy, uneducated, mentally unstable people. These were just a few negative connotations that then got circulated through the media and press.

In 1967, a study was done on how Puerto Ricans were represented in the press. The study included two English dailies and two Spanish dailies located in New York during a span of six months. In general the English dailies showed that Puerto Ricans were ignored until violence increased in Spanish Harlem. English dailies were also more likely to attribute negative connotations to Puerto Ricans and there were 56% negative reactions to Puerto Ricans coming to the mainland, compared to the Spanish dailies 26%. In Hartford, Connecticut, the press devastatingly contributed to an increase in riots in 1969 when reporter Bill Ryan responded to the summer’s violence by referring to all Puerto Ricans as “pigs” and that “they ought to go back to hell where they came from.”

Trailblazers like Manny helped disprove these stereotypes by including themselves in mainstream America. In Hartford and New York Puerto Rican leaders pushed for inclusion into governmental positions and programs. Bill Palmer wrote a book, which focused on Latino trailblazers in categories such as sports, acting, music and government. The contributions of these individuals proved to Puerto Ricans and non Puerto Ricans alike that the stereotypes were not true. Just as the media contributed and still contributes to a negative portrayal of Puerto Ricans, it has also highlighted trailblazers and their contributions. In 1974 Manny tried to join the New Britain Police force but was disqualified because of a racist controversy. The Hartford Courant reported on the incident and stayed fairly neutral, but highlighted the case nonetheless. In 2008 Manny was brought on the board of the Police force as chairman to the commission, which the Hartford Courant also reported on. This is a testament to Manny’s accomplishments and how they were recognized and shared with the public, just as other trailblazers, like him, helped represent Puerto Ricans positively.

Citations for Supplementary Sources and Context:

Bercowitz, Milt. “Puerto Rican Named Policeman.” The Hartford Courant, June 5, 1974.

Cruz, José E. "A Decade of Change: Puerto Rican Politics in Hartford, Connecticut, 1969-1979." Journal of American Ethnic History 16, no. 3 (1997): 45-80.

Fishman, Joshua A., and Heriberto Casiano. "Puerto Ricans in Our Press." The Modern Language Journal 53, no. 3 (1969): 157-62. doi:10.2307/321901.

Jackson, Peter. “ ‘A Permanent Possession?’ US Attitudes Towards Puerto Rico.” In Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography, edited by Peter Jackson, 253-270. London: Allen and Unwin, 1987.

Korrol, Virginia E. Sanchez. From Colonia to Community: The History of Puerto Ricans in New York City. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

Palmer, Bill. Trailblazing Latino Americans. United Sates: Harding House Publishing Services, 2013.

Stacom, Don.“Police Board Gets New Leader: New Britain.” The Hartford Courant, November 18, 2011. 

Entry Author: Morgan Bengel


Office of the Mayor of New Britain


Personal Collection of Manuel (Manny) Reyes


Office of the Mayor of New Britain


Creation Date: July 11th, 2008
Accession Date: April 6th, 2017


Manuel (Manny) Reyes


Copyright to this resource is held by Manuel Reyes and is provided here by CCSU for educational purposes only.


History Harvest 2017, Object #1
History Harvest 2017, Interview #1


.JPG Image File






History Harvest, April 2017, Object #2


New Britain, CT; Connecticut; 2008; early 2000s; 2017; 2010s; 21st century

Original Format

Paper Document


Office of the Mayor of New Britain, “City of New Britain Proclamation about Manuel (Manny) Reyes,” Latino History Harvest, accessed June 17, 2024,

Output Formats