Instituting Contract Migration

Labor camps became the center of the experiences of migrant farmworkers. During the 1950s, the government of Puerto Rico created English language programs, promoted entertainment, and supervised the living and working conditions in labor camps. Food was always an object of complaint by workers. In large camps, managers hired Puerto Rican cooks in order to satisfy workers and entice them to continue working and migrating. The government of Puerto Rico also produced literature to promote the hiring of Puerto Rican migrant farmworkers among stateside farmers. Officials always made sure to supervise the conditions in the camps and fields in order to avoid conflicts or negative press.

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Image 18. Government of Puerto Rico’s pamphlet: Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 1956. Know Your Fellow American Citizens from Puerto Rico. Washington, DC. Courtesy of the Records of the Migration Division, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY.

Image 19. Number of Puerto Rican Migrant Contract Worker on U.S. Farms, 1947-1992. Source: OGPRUS, Centro Archives, Annual Reports 1953-1992.

Image 20. Workers harvesting peaches, 1991. Photo by Doel Vázquez. Courtesy of Records of the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY.

Image 21. Picking peaches, 1991. Photo by Doel Vázquez. Courtesy of Records of the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY.

Image 22. Farmworkers being transported, 1991. Photo by Doel Vázquez. Courtesy of the Records of the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs, Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY.

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