Puerto Rican Agricultural Laborers in the 1950s
The photo above reminds me of the oral histories I have read about migrants from Puerto Rico who arrived in small communities in metropolitan, New York as agricultural workers. For example, Puerto Rican Salvadore Cordero migrated from the Caribbean to New York in 1952 when he was thirty-years-old. In Puerto Rico he had done construction and worked in the sugar fields cutting cane. During World War II, he worked on a U. S. military base in Puerto Rico. When he first came to New York in 1952, he performed agricultural labor on farms in upstate New York, which was common among Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1950s. Puerto Ricans represented a large segment of the agricultural workers in the Hudson River Valley just north of the city. They earned about $5.90 a day and endured poor working and living conditions on farms. They fought for many years before they gained “the right of self-organization in unions of their own choosing, and improvements in their wage scale to allow for a decent standard of living” said Fay Bennett, executive secretary of the National Sharecroppers Fund in 1959.