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Boricua Power

A Political History of Puerto Ricans in the United States

José Ramón Sánchez

Publication Year: 2007

Where does power come from? Why does it sometimes disappear? How do groups, like the Puerto Rican community, become impoverished, lose social influence, and become marginal to the rest of society? How do they turn things around, increase their wealth, and become better able to successfully influence and defend themselves?

Boricua Power explains the creation and loss of power as a product of human efforts to enter, keep or end relationships with others in an attempt to satisfy passions and interests, using a theoretical and historical case study of one community–Puerto Ricans in the United States. Using archival, historical and empirical data, Boricua Power demonstrates that power rose and fell for this community with fluctuations in the passions and interests that defined the relationship between Puerto Ricans and the larger U.S. society.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v

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pp. vii-ix

Projects that last as long as this one don’t get done without the visible and invisible help of tons of people. A limitation of space prevents me from trying to list them all. I have an obligation, however, to thank those people who I think have given me direct support and assistance. Some will be surprised but, hopefully, not offended at being so recognized. ...

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pp. 1-13

Power here. Power there. Power is everywhere (Boulding 1990, 131). Power exists as much in the way that lovers relate to each other as in electoral contests for political office.2 We’ve learned that power can be conveyed and shaped by conversation and by the way we organize the space in which we live and work (Korda 1975; Goodsell 1988). However, though it seems as though we know more now about the many places ...

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1 Dance: A Theory of Power

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pp. 14-52

It is easy to mistake what’s on the surface for what is really going on beneath. It is easy to think that what can be touched exhausts all that is real. Weapons, money, and position provide those who possess them with a clear advantage in what most people conceive as power; getting others ...

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2 The Cigar Makers’ Strike: An Economic Power Goes Up in Smoke, 1919 to 1945

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pp. 53 -95

As a child growing up in Cayey, Puerto Rico, Jesus Colon used to hear a clear, strong voice coming from a big factory down the street. The voice was that of “El Lector,” or the reader. His job was to read from the works of Zola, Balzac, Hugo, or Marx to the rows of cigar makers facing each other as they tenderly rolled fine cigars between their fingers (Colon 1982, 13). ...

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3 The Rise of Radicalism World War II to

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pp. 96-128

Pedro Lopez was a Puerto Rican living in Brooklyn during 1965. His letter to Manuel Cabranes, in the New York City Welfare Department, has a weird combination of self-pity and defiance. Lopez might be down but at least God supports him, he claims. ...

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4 Puerto Rican Marginalization

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pp. 129-170

Mickey Melendez wrote those words more than thirty years after the Young Lords collected and burned garbage in the barrio of East Harlem as a protest to get the city to clean the streets. Today, he and many others view that theatrical summer of 1969 as the high point of Puerto Rican community influence in New York City (Gandy 2002, 733). By burning the garbage in the streets, the Young Lords got Mayor Lindsay to ...

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5 The Young Lords, the Media, and Cultural Estrangement

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pp. 171-209

A great deal of the problem Puerto Ricans have in making real economic and political connections with this society is due to the reality that Americans place such little value on Puerto Rican culture. In this, Puerto Ricans and Latinos differ markedly from African Americans. Another major reason why Puerto Rican ...

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pp. 210-252

Musil was writing about cities.1 He could have been writing about dancing. He could have been writing about the dancing of the Puerto Rican community in the city of New York. He could have been ...


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pp. 253-263


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pp. 265-274


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pp. 275-277

E-ISBN-13: 9780814783573

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2007