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Letter to Wonder Woman from Pura Cruz, n.d.

Pura Cruz: "Letter to Wonder Woman"

Pura Cruz: "Letter to Wonder Woman"

Hofstra University Special Collections, HOF_HISLAT_B19_99
Document Description
Open letter to Wonder Woman from Pura Cruz, n.d.
Why does this author integrate Spanish into her English writing?
What is life like for these children growing up in Spanish Harlem during this time period? What evidence do you have for your conclusions?
Why would this author choose to write to Wonder Woman?
What is the barrio?
What did the girl mean when she stated that she was living in two worlds?
Why did this girl have to go to the emergency room?
Historical Challenges
Who was Wonder Woman? See if you can find a Wonder Woman comic book.
Locate a book that is set in the barrio. Read it and write a book report.
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a letter back from Wonder Woman to the girl.
Art: Create a comic strip depicting the events in this story.
Mohr, Nicholasa. 1992. All for the Better: A Story of El Barrio. Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1992. New York State Library. "Selected Hispanic and Latino Websites."
Stavans, Ilan. 2001. Wáchale! : Poetry and Prose about Growing Up Latino. Cricket Books/Marcato, 2001. The Wonder Woman Pages
Campoy, Isabel F. Mi Barrio/ My Neighborhood. Children's Press, 2005.


Historical Context
In 1898, the United States took possession of Puerto Rico as part of the concessions of the Spanish-American War. The Jones Act of 1917 made Puerto Rico an unincorporated territory, granting U.S. citizenship to all Puerto Rican residents. With Puerto Rico now part of the United States, American speculators took advantage of the small economy and tropical climate to organize large-scale sugar cane operations. This influx of absentee farm owners shifted the local economy from a diverse subsistence agricultural economy to an economy centered on a single cash crop. The owners made huge profits, while very few local residents benefited from this economic shift.

By the 1930s, poverty and unemployment in Puerto Rico were rampant. The economy was so hyper-focused on sugar cane that food had to be imported onto the island. These hardships encouraged many Puerto Ricans to take advantage of their American citizenship and immigrate to New York.

Small communities of Puerto Ricans developed in New York City. The largest of these communities was on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This barrio, or neighborhood, was East Harlem, also known as Spanish Harlem.
Essential Question
How do immigrants become a part of their new community?
Check for Understanding
Identify the main idea of this letter and explain how the author became a part of American society while preserving her cultural heritage.