From Colonial Citizen to Nuyorican

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:
From Colonial Citizen to Nuyorican

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This book has traced the outlines of an evolving political identity among Puerto Rican New Yorkers in the twentieth century, following debates over the meaning of key ideas such as “citizenship” and “sovereignty,” and the distances they traveled in Puerto Ricans' political imagination from 1917 to the early 1970s. Residents of the 1920s' colonia were colonial citizens, recent arrivals to the metropole without a clear political identity as a group beyond that of the striving immigrant. In the late 1950s, an increasingly radical youth movement adopted community-organizing strategies that paralleled those of Puerto Rican leftists in the 1930s and began weaving together nationalist ideology and “the politics of here.” In the 1960s, activists articulated “a new dream of freedom, not social acceptance and upward mobility within the centers of corporate power.” In doing so, they brought full circle the political discourses combining citizenship rights, economic justice, antidiscrimination, and anti-imperialism deployed by colonia leaders more than three decades earlier. The struggle for recognition is indeed the common thread that links the diverse claims of the many Puerto Ricans in this story.

Keywords: Puerto Rican migrants; citizenship; political identity; New York City; recognition; freedom

Chapter.  3475 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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