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Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire

Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms (American Crossroads #57)

Ismael García-Colón

Paperback

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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (2/18/2020)

Description

Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire is the first in-depth look at the experiences of Puerto Rican migrant workers in continental U.S. agriculture in the twentieth century. The Farm Labor Program, established by the government of Puerto Rico in 1947, placed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers on U.S. farms and fostered the emergence of many stateside Puerto Rican communities. Ismael García-Colón investigates the origins and development of this program and uncovers the unique challenges faced by its participants.

A labor history and an ethnography, Colonial Migrants evokes the violence, fieldwork, food, lodging, surveillance, and coercion that these workers experienced on farms and conveys their hopes and struggles to overcome poverty. Island farmworkers encountered a unique form of prejudice and racism arising from their dual status as both U.S. citizens and as “foreign others,” and their experiences were further shaped by evolving immigration policies. Despite these challenges, many Puerto Rican farmworkers ultimately chose to settle in rural U.S. communities, contributing to the production of food and the Latinization of the U.S. farm labor force.

University of California Press, 9780520325791, 352pp.

Publication Date: February 18, 2020



About the Author

Ismael García-Colón is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the College of Staten Island and CUNY Graduate Center. He is a historical and political anthropologist with interests in political economy and oral history, and the author of Land Reform in Puerto Rico: Modernizing the Colonial State.