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

in Puerto Rican Citizen

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780226796086
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226796109 | DOI:
“Juan Q. Citizen,” Aspirantes, and Young Lords

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The increasing postwar migration from Puerto Rico sparked opposition and resentment from Italian Americans all over East Harlem as well as New Yorkers throughout the city, who feared the “dangerous influx.” Puerto Rican youth bore a heavy burden of the anti-Puerto Rican fury on the streets. Throughout the 1950s, Puerto Ricans under the age of twenty-five comprised New York's most rapidly expanding demographic group, making them ready targets of the public's anxiety about a postwar world in flux. A large number of Puerto Rican children and families were drawn into New York's education and social service institutions via the more dominant liberal agendas that would, by the mid-1950s, describe the ideal new migrant as “Juan Q. Citizen.” Adult migrants were barraged with messages from the Migration Division and other social service agencies about voting and learning English, as well as about comportment in the workplace and proper standards of dress and housekeeping, and younger Puerto Ricans were targeted by liberal educators who hoped to provide the most promising students with the tools to embark on middle-class lives.

Keywords: Puerto Rican migrants; New York City; youths; education; social service

Chapter.  18822 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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