Questions | Yonkers | Latino Communities
Sweat and Tears: Puerto Ricans Migrate to New York State
Razed: Destroyed completely, demolished.
The first wave of Hispanics, primarily Puerto Ricans, came to Central New York in the 1950s as migrant farm workers to pick lettuce, onions and other vegetable crops in Onondaga and Oswego counties. Many came from small, rural towns in Puerto Rico and arrived here penniless and with little education. What they lacked in terms of cash was more than offset by their rich traditions, their strong sense of family, religious faith, ambition and pride.
Although they had been granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 (19 years after Spain had turned over its colonial control of Puerto Rico to the United States), many Puerto Ricans viewed America the same way the European immigrants did. They saw it as the land of opportunity. They hoped to strike it rich, but, unlike most of the immigrants, they never planned on staying. Their dream was to save money, then take it back to Puerto Rico to make a better life for themselves and their families – a dream still strong today among many first-generation Puerto Ricans.
Document 10: Mulder, James T. "The Hispanics: Syracuse's 'Invisible' Minority Comes of Age." Syracuse Herald American, July 18, 1982.
Document 10 Short-Answer Questions:
- Name three positive traits the Puerto Rican migrant workers shared.
- Unlike European immigrants, what was the goal of Puerto Ricans who came to New York State to work?
- Why do you think, in spite of their dream to return to Puerto Rico, many of the migrant workers got permanent jobs and stayed on the Mainland?