Hard Tack and Salt Meat
Here is an interesting history description of the experience of U. S. immigrant workers that contrast with the current views on undocumented immigrant workers in the United States. In 1897 . William B. Lyons and J. C. Watts, two white Cincinnati boys, met on the streets of New Orleans. Unable to find work in the United States they migrated to Central America in search of jobs. They said in a letter published in their hometown of Ohio that “the food and accommodation on the steamer Breakwater and the treatment we received were something outrageous." Passengers on deck received "a small pan full of stew, some salt meat that nobody could eat, some rice, and sometimes once a day, a cup of coffee.” The two go on to describe the food and conditions on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala where they found jobs as railroad workers. Company officials and the local police/soldiers treated them like slaves and fed them rations of salt pork and hard tack. In short, during periods of severe depression, North Americans have migrated to source of jobs and tasted the immigrant experience.