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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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This group of Cuban immigrants sailed from the U.S. back to Cuba on May 21, 1898, under the name "Army of the Cuban Republic." Their goal was to aid the rebels fighting for Cuban independence from Spain. Many of these soldiers had been cigarworkers…

This essay explores the dual phenomena of Cuban immigration and Puerto Rican migration to the United States, noting their relationship to those countries' respective independence movements as well as U.S. intervention in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

The charts below measure the number of immigrants entering the United States from Cuba and Puerto Rico during the early twentieth century. Cuban immigration spikes during the earliest years of the twentieth century, when the U.S. repeatedly…

Puerto Rican poet and journalist Lola Rodríguez de Tió was one of the most prominent early advocates for Puerto Rican independence. Among her most popular works was "A Cuba," from which the excerpt below is taken. Rodríguez lived her final years…

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The similarities between the Cuban (top) and Puerto Rican (bottom) flags are not accidental. The Cuban flag was designed in 1849 by Narciso López, a pro-independence exile living in New York City. The design for the Puerto Rican flag was adopted by…

The family of Cesar Marcos Medina moved from Cuba to Ybor City in Tampa, Florida in 1903. In this interview, Medina details the experiences of his father, who worked as a lector (reader) in the city's cigar factories. Medina also describes the…

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U.S. intervention in Puerto Rico and Cuba during the Spanish-American War established the U.S. as the dominant power in those countries, altering the paths of their respective independence movements. Critics accused the U.S. of acting in its own…

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The lector, or reader, was an institution in Tampa cigar factories. Elected and paid by the workers, the lector read material of their choosing aloud as the workers assembled cigars. Lectores read newspapers, current affairs publications, and even…

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Cubans living in Tampa during the early part of the twentieth century published their own newspapers in Spanish. In addition to local news, the papers carried dispatches from Cuba and Spain. These papers were frequently read aloud in the city's cigar…

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While agitation for Cuban independence had brought black and white Cubans together, during the post-independence period exile communities in Florida split under the influence of the region's Jim Crow mores. The Marti-Maceo Society (Sociedad La Union…
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