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Puerto Rican CitizenHistory and Political Identity in Twentieth-Century New York City$
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Lorrin Thomas

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226796086

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226796109.001.0001

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“Juan Q. Citizen,” Aspirantes, and Young Lords

“Juan Q. Citizen,” Aspirantes, and Young Lords

Youth Activism in a New World

(p.200) Chapter Six “Juan Q. Citizen,” Aspirantes, and Young Lords
Puerto Rican Citizen
University of Chicago Press

The increasing postwar migration from Puerto Rico sparked opposition and resentment from Italian Americans all over East Harlem as well as New Yorkers throughout the city, who feared the “dangerous influx.” Puerto Rican youth bore a heavy burden of the anti-Puerto Rican fury on the streets. Throughout the 1950s, Puerto Ricans under the age of twenty-five comprised New York's most rapidly expanding demographic group, making them ready targets of the public's anxiety about a postwar world in flux. A large number of Puerto Rican children and families were drawn into New York's education and social service institutions via the more dominant liberal agendas that would, by the mid-1950s, describe the ideal new migrant as “Juan Q. Citizen.” Adult migrants were barraged with messages from the Migration Division and other social service agencies about voting and learning English, as well as about comportment in the workplace and proper standards of dress and housekeeping, and younger Puerto Ricans were targeted by liberal educators who hoped to provide the most promising students with the tools to embark on middle-class lives.

Keywords:   Puerto Rican migrants, New York City, youths, education, social service

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