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Latino Immigration and Contributions to American Society

Directions
The following questions are based on historical documents or excerpts from them, and are designed to test your ability to work with such documents. As you analyze the documents or excerpts, try to understand the source of the document and any point of view that is presented in them.
 
Historical Context
Since the formation of the United States, Latinos have contributed to its growth. Like other immigrants, Latinos came to this country for varying reasons (political, religious, and economic), and settled in different parts of the United States (Northeast, Southwest, Florida). During the last century, a surge in the Latino population made Americans of Hispanic origin the largest minority in the nation.
 
Task Description
Using information from the following documents/excerpts, and using your own knowledge of history, in Part A answer the questions that follow each listed document/excerpt.  Your answers to these questions will help you complete the writing assignment given in Part B.
 
Part A: Instructions
Read and analyze each document or excerpt, and then in the space provided answer each of the questions that follow them.
 
Part B: Essay
Using information from at least four of the documents or excerpts in Part A to support your thinking, and using your own knowledge of history, write an essay that discusses the political, social, and economic reasons Latinos came to the United States and how they adapted and contributed to American society. Use a separate sheet of paper to complete your essay, which should be well organized. Include an introduction, at least three paragraphs, and a conclusion. Support your response with relevant facts, examples, and details.  In no case should the documents or excerpts simply be cited and paraphrased. You should include additional historical details, and you may discuss documents not provided in the question.
 


     West Indies - Negroes Husking Cacao Pods
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_A6117
 
Document Description
Husking Cacao Pods, West Indies, 1914.
 
Questions
  1. What conditions in the West Indies might lead people to come to the United States?
 

     Puerto Rico, Case of A.B.
New York City Municipal Archives, NYCMA_WPA-FWP_B1_10
 
Document Description
Excerpt from Federal Writer’s Project, Case of “A.B,” Walt Anderson, Reporter, 1939. 
 
Questions
  1. State one reason why “A.B.” migrated from Puerto Rico to New York.
 

     Census Figures: Spanish, Latin American, French, etc. in NYC and US
New York City Municipal Archives, NYCMA_WPA-FWP_B1_13
 
Document Description
Census Figures: Spanish, Latin-American, French, etc. in New York City, 1890, 1900, 1910.
 
Questions
  1. ​After analyzing the census figures in this document, give three reasons why Cubans and West Indians could be expected to be the highest Hispanic group in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century.
 

     Hispanics: Some Basic Facts

Hispanics: Some Basic Facts

Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, KRO_29_2_3252_B3F2_192
 
Document Description
“Hispanics: Some Basic Facts,” from The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 16, 1987. 
 
Questions
  1. Based on this excerpt, state two reasons why it would be logical that California and Texas had the two largest Hispanic populations in the United States in 1987.
 

     Latinos in the Northeast: Myths/Realities

Latinos in the Northeast: Myths/Realities

Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, CEN_EM_B13F9_258
 
Document Description
“Latinos in the Northeast, Myths/Realities,” by Louis Nunez, National Community for Latino Leadership, Inc., November 1998.
 
Questions
  1. According to the excerpt, state two ways Latino communities differ.
 

     CARECEN 20th Anniversary - Central American Refugee Center

CARECEN 20th Anniversary - Central American Refugee Center

Hofstra University Special Collections, HOF_HISLAT_B1F20_91
 
Document Description
Central American Refugee Center newsletter, 2003.
 
Questions
  1. According to this document, what were two reasons why people from El Salvador came to the United States during the 1980s?
 

     Interview with male immigrant from Fajardo, Puerto Rico, New York City, 1939
New York City Municipal Archives, NYCMA_WPA_FWP_B1_12
 
Document Description
Excerpt from Federal Writer’s Project Interview, Individual Family Case History, 1939.
 
Questions
  1. Based on this excerpt, state two effects Puerto Ricans had on New York City.