A Review of “Boricua Power”

By: Daniel Nardini

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary The book, Boricua Power: A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States by Jose Ramon Sanchez, is a must-read for those trying to understand something about the complexities of how Puerto Rican communities in this country have grown and matured. More than that, the book is a look at a group that has had influence not only in the political institutions of this country but also the cultural, artistic and music sectors of American mainstream culture.

The book tells us about Puerto Rican labor struggles in the 1920’s with Puerto Rican cigar workers going on strike for better wages and working conditions. The book mentions that Puerto Rican immigrants have been settling in New York City and in New York state since the 19th Century (and even before the U.S. war against Spain in 1898 where the United States seized Puerto Rico). The great Puerto Rican immigration to the United States actually began from 1946 to 1965 since Puerto Ricans were not restricted to come to the United States under the immigration quota system of the time.

Puerto Ricans came because of the booming U.S. economy and because they were in demand by employers. Even though Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they suffered from considerable racism, and this eventually triggered an “awakening” of Puerto Rican consciousness during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Puerto Ricans have since been striving to fight for political influence in the political process on a state and federal level. This fight still continues as many Puerto Rican communities fight against poverty, prejudice and to make their voices heard on the local, state and federal levels.

For those wanting to know something about the contemporary history of Puerto Ricans here, I recommend this book.

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