By Víctor Hernández-Vázquez
This book recounts the genesis of the Puerto Rican community in Philadelphia during the interwar years (1917-1945). It connects the origins of this community to the mass migration of the post-WW II (1945-1985) years when Puerto Ricans consolidated their presence in Philadelphia. This study compares the experiences of Puerto Ricans with that of the Italians, the Polish, and African Americans in Philadelphia during the early twentieth century. The scholarship on Puerto Ricans outside of New York has been, by and large, limited to the postwar period and a closer examination of the interwar years provides us a more complete picture of how the postwar migrants were established and developed over a much longer period than previously believed. Until now, there has been no comprehensive examination of this early diaspora in Philadelphia and this book rectifies this scholarly deficiency. This study also argues that the picture presented by scholars on the extent and impact of Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. is hampered by a lack of understanding of the pre-World War II period.