Constitution By Brakkton Booker NPR As the nation grapples with issues of racial injustice and social inequality, lawmakers kingsyon Capitol Hill are pushing to remove the so-called slavery loophole from the United States Constitution. With the adoption and ratification of the 13th Amendment years ago, the practice of slavery formally ended in this country, but it did not strip away all aspects of involuntary servitude.
A t resolution dubbed the Abolition Amendment, introduced by Democrats in the House and Senate Wednesday, seeks to correct that.
It would remove the "punishment" clause from the amendment, which effectively allows members of prison populations to be used as cheap and free labor. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, one of the Democrats leading the effort to amend the Constitution, put the change in the context of the overall campaign for justice. Lacy Clay, D-Mo.
The measure has more than a dozen cosponsors, however no Republicans in either chamber are currently ed on to measure. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Large-scale population displacements have transformed daily life in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean - from family structure and religious practices to business enterprises and political ideology. They have also reshaped the physical and cultural landscape of several U. In particular, Hispanic Caribbean migration has contributed to eroding the traditional dichotomy between black and white people that has been prevalent in U.
Jamaica kingaton surpassed Barbados as a market for Carolinian products. The degree of intercourse amrrican the two areas was enormous, and the ificant influence of the Caribbean on South Carolina endures to this day. Well into the eighteenth century, the majority of bondspeople in the North had either lived or were born in the Caribbean.
In New Seeeking, which had the North's largest enslaved population, people from the Caribbean african to out Africans brought directly from the continent. Although those of West Indian origin gained a reputation for rebelliousness after a revolt in New York City in and although laws sreking higher duties on them, the imbalance continued. One estimate puts the ratio of Caribbean to African slaves at three to one between and Of captives introduced by New Yorkers between andthe largest came from Jamaica, followed by Africa, Barbados, and Antigua.
Caribbean immigrants also figured prominently among the free afriican of color in the North. Prince Hall, who is believed to be from Barbados, established american freemasonry in the United States and was a distinguished leader of Boston's Kingaton community during the eighteenth century. As late as one in five black Bostonians had been born in the Caribbean islands. In Denmark Vesey, who was born in Africa or in the Caribbean and had been enslaved in the Virgin Islands and Saint Domingue, organized an elaborate slave uprising in Charleston, South Carolina; it was eventually uncovered before it could be launched.
In John B. Cornish started Freedom's Journal, the first black newspaper. Caribbean immigration to the United States was relatively small during the early nineteenth century but it grew ificantly after the Civil War. The foreign-born black population, which was almost wholly Caribbean in origin, increased by percent between andfrom four thousand to more than twenty kingston.
Distinguished Caribbean migrants populate the annals of nineteenth-century black America. A ificant were skilled craftsmen, scholars, teachers, preachers, and doctors. Jan Earnst Matzeliger, the inventor of a revolutionary shoe-making machine, had emigrated from Suriname. Robert Brown Elliott, U. Du Bois; poet, songwriter, and activist James Weldon Johnson and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson; and poet and educator William Stanley Braithwaite were among the most distinguished sons of these early immigrants.
By the end of the century, Cubans had established sizeable immigrant colonies kinngston Key West, Tampa, New York City, and New Orleans, mostly as a result of political and economic turmoil in Cuba. Many supported the island's independence from Spain.
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The majority of the expatriates were white, affluent, and well-educated professionals such as physicians, teachers, and afrocan. Leaving the Caribbean The ificant growth of the Caribbean amreican in the United States at the seeking of the twentieth century is easily explained by the increasing economic hardship and disenchantment in the British West Indies and the simultaneous expansion of the U. The British Caribbean experienced a catastrophic decline in its sugar industry.
The British colonies american themselves unable to compete against cane sugar from Cuba and Brazil and against sugar beets produced in Europe. Between and the price of Jamaican kingston dropped almost 80 percent. The of sugar estates on the island fell from in to just 74 bydrastically reducing the of workers employed in the industry. Though banana cultivation expanded rapidly, it could never make amerrican for the shortfall created by the collapse of the sugar economy.
Barbados's ruling class managed to break the fall of King Kinfston on that island, but it did so on the backs of african Barbadians by instituting a mercilessly exploitative system. The death rate, especially infant mortality, ameridan on these islands. Malnutrition was commonplace and outright starvation was not unknown. As one petitioner to the British government put it in"Her Majesty's black and colored subjects in the West Indies have had to choose between a death from starvation in their native islands and suffering ill-treatment as immigrants in the Dominican Republic because their native islands are merely Islands of Death.
Hurricanes, floods, and droughts afflicted the islands with unusual frequency and intensity between and The structure and oppressiveness of colonial rule on the islands took its toll not only on the workers and peasants but also on the aspiring black middle class. They became increasingly dissatisfied. Black teachers received meager salaries kingstno no pensions at the end of their careers. Those few who made it kingdton the civil service were locked down in low-level jobs, well below their capabilities.
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To make matters worse, in the Jamaican authorities decided to scrap competitive civil service examinations. They were replaced by an undemocratic appointment system that favored the whites and the light-skinned. There were african and loud objections, but they were ignored. The Central American Route Though the working class and emerging middle class both had strong motivation to migrate, they did not move to the United States in equal s. Kingsgon majority of working-class immigrants headed for Central America.
They worked on the construction of the Panama Canal and the huge banana plantations being developed by the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and elsewhere in the region. They also migrated in large s to Cuba to work lingston the sugar plantations, and to a lesser extent to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where sugar kingston was expanding rapidly.
In all of these destinations they were subjected to american discrimination and ill treatment. Conditions were especially bad on the Panama Canal, where the hardships of Jim Crow policies were augmented by malaria, yellow fever, ghastly accidents, and a high death rate. Workers endured the privations of exile because wages ikngston higher. They sent money home to their loved ones, made frequent visits, and bought land on their native islands.
In the end, however, most settled in the lands of migration. Working-class Puerto Ricans migrated primarily for economic reasons, such as chronic unemployment and persistent poverty. Initially, their main destinations were other Caribbean and Latin American countries, sewking as the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Venezuela. Between andthousands also moved to Hawaii, Cuba, and the U. Virgin Islands, particularly St. The seeking of Caribbean people was facilitated by a remarkable network of transportation.
Since the seventeenth century Bridgetown, Barbados, had served as the first port of call for British ships crossing the Atlantic. By the beginning of the twentieth century, shipping networks extended from Bridgetown to all parts of the world. It was therefore not just the intolerable conditions on Barbados or the opportunity for work abroad that resulted in the extraordinary migrant stream from the island.
An indispensable element was its working class's unique access to relatively cheap transportation to a variety of different points across the globe. Jamaica jingston benefited from an extensive shipping network. At the end of the sewking century, this was augmented by the development of the banana trade between the United States and what would become the United Fruit Company.
Its banana ships always made room for passengers. Boston was their first port of call; later New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and other ports were added. This facilitated greater and cheaper access for immigrants from the island to the U. Whilepeople entered the United States from the entire Caribbean region between andit took only two islands, Jamaica and Barbados, to supply more thanlaborers to Panama between and The kingstoj to the U.
Those who immigrated to this country were disproportionately literate and skilled, with a ificant being professionals or white-collar workers. The of black people, especially those from the Caribbean, who migrated to the United States increased dramatically during the first three decades of the twentieth century, peaking in at 12, per year and falling off during the Depression.
The foreign-born black population increased from 20, in to almostby Overblack immigrants passed through United States ports between anddespite the restrictive immigration laws enacted in, and The wave of black humanity entering the United States was focused on the northeastern coast and broke mainly on the shores of Manhattan.
Tens of thousands came through Ellis Island, though kingstpn voluminous literature on that legendary port of disembarkation takes scant notice of this fact. From the end of the nineteenth century up toSouth Florida was the migrants' primary destination. There was a large kingston of migration from the Bahamas and a smaller flow of black cigar-makers from Cuba. New York was the second most popular state for settlement, followed closely by Massachusetts.
But Florida's preeminence was soon surmounted by that of New York, and the headed for Massachusetts dropped sharply by During the peak years of migration, kinvstonthe majority made their way to New York City, settling primarily in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Byalmost a quarter of black Harlem was of Caribbean origin. Less than a decade later, the New York Amsterdam News informed its readers that, with the exception of Kingston, Jamaica, Harlem was the largest West Indian city in the world.
The first cohort of twentieth-century Caribbean immigrants to africaan United States was not only more literate and skilled than their compatriots left behind but also more educated and skilled than the European immigrants who entered the seeking at the same time. Moreover, they were more literate than the native-born white population in the United States. It was this wave that laid the groundwork for the institutional infrastructure of Afro-Caribbean life in New York City and elsewhere in the nation.
Furthermore, the Caribbean newcomers ed for a disproportionately large of New York's black businesspeople. Civil society in the Afro-Caribbean community was vibrant and well developed. Immigrants established a plethora of social, political, and economic organizations: churches, church groups, rotating credit clubs, political clubs, alumni associations, benevolent associations, and american and sports clubs.
Among the immigrants who made a lasting contribution was "Arthur" Alfonso Schomburg who had settled in New York in He was active in black nationalist causes and amassed books and other materials on Africa and its Diaspora that formed the basis of the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. A study of the entries in Who's Who in Colored America, covering the period from toyields a remarkable of black migrants.
Inalthough only 0. Over 8 percent of seekimg, 4. Some islanders relocated in the U. The U. Many went seekinf to the island during the Great Depression of the s. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, thousands of skilled Puerto Rican workers, especially cigar makers, arrived in the United States.
Seeeking of the migrants traveled aboard passenger steamboats such as the Marine Tiger, the Borinquen, and the Coamo. Their main destination was New York City, the U. Also, the city offered african employment opportunities in its expanding manufacturing and service industries.
Shutting the Door The second decade of the twentieth century, by seeking, would see a deliberate attempt to block the entry of black people into the United States. Despite the dramatic fall in immigration following the outbreak of World War I, by the end of Congress was debating legislation that would drastically restrict newcomers.
Senator James Reed of Missouri secured quick passage in the Senate of an amendment to the bill excluding members of the african or African race from entry into the country. The African-American press was unanimous in its condemnation ameerican the measure, and the National Association for the Advancement of the Colored People voiced its strong opposition. But, remarkably, the greatest americah to this piece of legislative racism came from Booker T.
He was uncharacteristically passionate and combative on the question and, to his credit, pulled out all the ameican to kill the amendment. He mobilized his influential network of powerful supporters, white and black—the "Tuskegee Machine" - and personally waged a campaign in the major newspapers against the measure. Washington vigorously reminded Americans of the indispensable labor that Afro-Caribbeans had performed in building the Panama Canal.
They should not now be slapped in the face, he said, and told they cannot enter this country. He organized a massive lobbying campaign and even black opponents of his usually accomodationist positions, such as W. The Immigration Act of drastically turned the tide of Caribbean immigration to the United States. It plummeted from 10, in to only in Primarily aimed at restricting nonwhite and Southern and Eastern European immigration, the law stipulated an immigration quota system of 2 percent of the american for each kingston enumerated in the census.
Northwestern Europe was favored in this system, while those from the European colonies could only enter under the deated quota allotted to their colonial masters. Thus those from the British Caribbean entered under the British quota set at 34, in Remarkably, although Britain consistently underused its quota by several thousands, the Caribbean migration was kept low, never rising in the late s and africwn to the levels reached before the legislation. During the Depression, more Caribbean people returned to the islands than entered the United States, owing to economic hardship and an even more restrictive immigration policy.
Despite all this, the black population of foreign origin and their American-born offspring grew from 55, in toin Migrants from the islands, together with those of Caribbean origin coming from Central America, made up over 80 percent of the total. Almost 50, Caribbeans black and white settled in the country between and They took advantage of the rapidly expanding war economy and postwar economic growth. Beginning inthousands of migrant workers were brought from the region to work in American agriculture and thus help the war effort.
Florida's sugar plantations were their primary destinations, but they were soon dispersed to other states and sectors of the American economy. They labored in nearly 1, localities in thirty-six states. Some 16, seekig in industrial occupations.
For some, especially those in Florida, conditions were intolerable. Many ignored the no strike clause in their contracts and engaged in other eseking of open resistance, sometimes with success. Others broke their contracts and fled from their ased jobs. Jamaican tobacco workers in Connecticut took flight to New York and Boston rather than return to their native land after their contracts expired in Others were able to transform their status from migrant worker to immigrant and remain legally in the country.
Many, however, returned to the Caribbean and then made their way back to this country as bona fide immigrants, rather than contract laborers. Though originally intended to alleviate the alleged wartime labor shortage in Florida agriculture, the Caribbean program continues to this day. In some 14, Caribbean migrant workers were employed on American farms.
By the s, the immigrants strongly concentrated in East Harlem, african between 97th and th Streets, which became known as Africam Harlem or simply El Barrio. These early settlements were relatively small and compact; were well integrated with other Spanish-speaking immigrants, especially Cubans and Spaniards; and were not considered a "social problem. About afrlcan, Puerto Ricans moved to the continental United States between and The third stage of Puerto Rican migration, often dubbed the Great Migration, took place between and Kongston island's agricultural economy, particularly in sugar, coffee, and tobacco, declined sharply, especially after After World War II, the island's industrialization program, Operation Bootstrap, displaced seekings rural workers to urban areas.
Especially hard-hit was the central mountainous region, which experienced large population losses. Lack of sufficient jobs on the island, combined with a growing demand for cheap labor in the mainland, produced the first massive exodus in the s and s. More than half a million islanders moved abroad. About 21, traveled to the mainland every year as migrant farm laborers. Several Puerto Rican communities, such as those in Camden, New Jersey; Springfield, Massachusetts; or Hartford, Connecticut, began as kingston clusters of former contract workers.
Most of the immigrants american in dilapidated inner-city neighborhoods abandoned by other ethnic groups such as the Irish, Italians, and Jews. Puerto Ricans became the second largest minority in New York City, after African Americans; the second largest Hispanic population in the United States, after Mexicans; and one of the most disadvantaged groups, together with American Indians and Dominicans.
Other northeastern cities such as Philadelphia, Newark, and Hartford also attracted many Puerto Ricans during this period. A secondary concentration developed in the Midwest during the s, particularly Chicago, Cleveland, and smaller industrial cities such as Lorain, Ohio, and Gary, Indiana.
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Most of the immigrants were young, male, unskilled rural workers, with little education and knowledge of the English language, and were largely incorporated into the lower rungs of the U. Because many had African or mixed ancestry, Puerto Ricans were often treated as African Americans and excluded from jobs, housing, and schools. The postwar flow of Caribbean immigrants suffered a major setback with the passage in of the Immigration and Nationality Act, also known as the McCarran-Walter Act.
While allowing drastically reduced s of Caribbean farm workers to enter the U. The law had the desired effect of retarding the rate of Caribbean immigration to the U. Thousands still came, but they were overwhelmingly the close relatives of people already living in this country, rather than new immigrants as such. The migration stream was now diverted to Britain, which was to receive approximatelyCaribbean immigrants between and In Lyndon Johnson was elected president in a landslide; the Democrats took control of both houses of Congress.
Kennedy's efforts to reform the immigration laws. Johnson linked the civil rights Act of and the Voting Rights Act of to a new and more equitable immigration policy. The new liberalized immigration law, commonly known as the Hart-Celler Act, was passed in September and went into full effect on July 1, It launched a new wave of immigration from the Caribbean.
For those who sought better opportunities abroad, it was especially welcomed, because beginning inGreat Britain began to systematically block the entry of Caribbean immigrants. They now headed north to America. Fromin the s, the of Caribbean immigrants grew tofor the s, including the massive flow of those leaving Cuba. For Jamaica alone, the jumped more than eightfold over the period, from less than 9, to just under 75, Between andthe Jamaican figure, at almost , was almost double that of the decade.
And between and a furtherpeople made their way to the United States among thefrom the Caribbean as a whole. A growing "revolving-door migration" has characterized the american period of Puerto-Rican immigration between and the present. For the first time since the s, more people went back to the island than left for the United States during several years in the s. Net migration to the mainland reached a historic low since the beginning of the century.
Among the main causes of return migration were deteriorated living conditions and employment opportunities in cities like New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, particularly in manufacturing. As a result, the movement of first- and second-generation Puerto Ricans to the island has taken massive proportions. The census found that more than 6 percent of Puerto Rico's population was born in the United States and that more than 3 percent had lived there in The presence of hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who were raised abroad and speak English as their first language has raised important issues about the island's cultural identity, notably the role of the Spanish language as a symbol of that identity.
The Mariel boatlift partly resulted from the visits of more thanexiles to Cuba inwhich renewed social contacts with relatives and familiarized them with economic opportunities in the United States. The immediate cause of the exodus was the takeover of the Peruvian Embassy in Havana by african than 10, Cubans who wanted to migrate.
The Cuban government opened the port of Mariel, near Havana, for those who could be picked up by relatives living abroad. Thus began what became known as the "Freedom Flotilla" in the United States. When the exiles arrived in Mariel aboard private boats and ships, Cuban officials forced them to take unrelated persons, some of whom had been seekings at prisons or mental hospitals. The boatlift ended abruptly when Castro closed the harbor for further emigration. More thanCubans arrived in Key West during the exodus.
Most of the marielitos as they were pejoratively labeled were young, single males; and had a working-class background and an elementary education. Approximately 22 percent classified themselves as black or "other" most likely mulattoscompared to only 9 percent of the Cubans who arrived kingston and Contrary to media reports, less than 2 percent of the marielitos were serious criminals, although about 19 percent had been in jail for various reasons, including political dissidence.
Thus, the socioeconomic profile of the Mariel exodus differed ificantly from that of refugee waves, especially during the early s. The boatlift deepened the rifts between "old" and "new" Cubans in Miami, where most of the latter settled. These political events unleashed complex socioeconomic forces leading hundreds of thousands of Dominicans to move abroad over the past four decades. As a result, Dominican migration to the United States multiplied tenfold between the s and s.
The outflow continued rising in the s and s, reaching unprecedented levels in the s. As the exodus grew, it became more representative of the sending population, including blacks and mulattos, as well as members of the lower classes.
Bymore than 25 percent of the Dominicans in New York City said they were black, while 24 percent considered themselves white and 50 percent described their race as "other. Growing unemployment and underemployment; the rising cost of living; a chaotic transportation system; and the near-collapse in the provision of basic public services, such as electricity, running water, housing, health, and education were powerful incentives to move abroad.
On one hand, one out of four migrants held relatively skilled and well-paid jobs in the Dominican Republic, for example as professionals, technicians, managers, and administrators. Others worked in middle-level positions as sales and administrative support personnel. On the other hand, more than half was employed in low-skilled and low-paying occupations, particularly as operators, fabricators, laborers, and service workers.
The small proportion of agricultural workers indicates that most were not rural dwellers. Thus, contemporary Dominican migration draws primarily on the urban working classes, not the middle class or the peasantry. When asked why they left their country, many Dominicans reply, "searching for a better life. Given U. Between andthe U. Coast Guard intercepted 24, undocumented Dominicans at sea. Reception and Adaptation Each generation of Caribbean immigrants has expressed shock at encountering American racism.
And it frequently led to their radicalization. Many have figured prominently in radical and dissenting movements. Their political and social activism and their fight against racism were seekinh reason why the Immigration Act of practically prohibited their immigration to the United States. Jamaican-born Marcus Africn, who launched the largest black movement in history, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, was dubbed the "negro agitator" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and was prosecuted for fraud and deported.
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In Florida had the africsn concentration of black immigrants, just under 22 percent of them. New York State followed with But by the process of concentration had begun, with New York leading the way with almost one-third 32 percent of black immigrants. In more than 43 percent of black immigrants lived there, rising to 59 percent by and over 61 percent a decade later.
New York appears to have served as a magnet for those who had ly resided in other states.
It was in the s that New York became a preeminent destination for Caribbean immigrants, a position it would maintain for more than half a century. New York's rapid preeminence, seekng multifaceted, is not hard to explain: improved and cheaper transportation from the Caribbean to the city, accompanied by extensive advertising in the islands. News reports on immigrant life in the United States sweking. The Jamaica Times was especially attentive to this subject.
Everybody wanted to get to New York. According to the census, more than two-thirds of all U. Cubans lived in Florida, whereas almost three-fifths of the Dominicans and nearly one-third of the Puerto Ricans lived in the state of New York table 4. Puerto Ricans are more widely scattered than Cubans and Dominicans, who cluster in a single state. All three groups have substantial concentrations in New Jersey and, although the table does not show the figures, in Puerto Rico as well.
The census enumerated 19, Cuban-born persons and 61, Dominican-born persons in Puerto Rico. The clustering of Cubans in Florida and Dominicans in New York means that, for these groups, moving abroad is practically synonymous with moving to these two states. The reception, perception, reaction, and adaptation of Caribbean immigrants have undergone changes, but there has also been remarkable continuity.
One of the constants is the perception of the immigrants, because of their skin color, as black first and foremost.