Discovering Hispanicness today in New York City is extremely easy and this is possible thanks to the work of many people, starting with the city’s Hispanic-American pioneers, who are practically unknown to the new generations.
But where can you appreciate, know, see Hispanic in New York City? first in its history, a history that is under construction and that ranges from the rescue and preservation of the historical legacy, to its dissemination in which Impacto Latino has displayed leadership that has inspired the appreciation of the
history of Hispanics, of the which has recorded more than half a century.
The current presence of Hispanics in this metropolis is the result of historical, dynamic and simultaneous processes, of which Hispanic Americans today are neither a product nor heirs, they are above all a fundamental part of the present, to connect the past with the future and The recognition of that role is fundamental in the advancement of this immense and diverse community at the local and national level.
In a general perspective, to understand Hispanity in what is currently the United States of America, we must go back several centuries, when the conquerors who explored this part of the continent – the first Europeans to do so – established the germ of what is currently It is one of the greatest
cultures of this nation, a seed that has been nurtured by the diverse cultural richness of each of the Latin American countries.
The influence of Hispanic Americans has grown and is part of the deepest fabric of the social, economic, cultural structure of this nation and of New York, therefore the presence of Hispanity can be appreciated in a variety of ways that we roughly present in this note.
PIONEER PRO IMMIGRANTS
Religiosity is one of the strongest cultural expressions of Hispanity, in that sense currently several churches in the city, including the Cathedral of San Patricio and many other churches in all counties, offer not only masses in Spanish, they exhibit religious images of Hispanic countries, they have Hispanic priests, they
carry out activities dedicated to Hispanics, but there are also important historical figures.
In 1823, the priest Félix Varela (1788-1853) arrived in New York as an exile from Cuba, who carried out a formidable humanitarian work among immigrants and was very popular among the Irish and German newcomers to the city.
During the cholera epidemic (1832) he established the newspaper El Habanero, focused on promoting tolerance, education and the rights of immigrants.
He promoted the establishment of churches and schools. An activist for the independence of Puerto Rico and Cuba, this intellectual, journalist, translator, educator born in Havana, was a pioneer fighting and promoting democratic changes in Latin America from exile.
He served the city’s growing Catholic community, including the Irish and Italians in the churches of St. Peter, Christ, and the Transfiguration. Because of his talent and work, he was appointed vicar general of the city of New York in 1837.
Arthur Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938), -who has been described as the Sherlock Holmes of black history-, bibliographer who promoted the preservation of the archives not only for African-Americans, but also for “Afro-Borinqueños” or Puerto Ricans of African descent lived for forty-seven years in New York City.
He was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and arrived in New York at the age of seventeen (1891) where he worked as a doorman, painter, suffered racism against Hispanics and against blacks.
He dedicated himself to eradicating racism by founding groups such as the Black Society for Historical Research and the Two Antilles.
He was one of the most prominent figures of the stage known as the Harlem Renaissance.
The Schomburg Center for Black Culture, part of the New York Public Library, which acquired Arthur Schomburg’s private collection, preserves his invaluable contributions to African-American culture in New York as a writer, archivist, and bibliographer.
His work investigating, unveiling, and preserving the contributions of African Americans is palpable evidence of the contributions of Latinos to other groups of Americans.
PIONEER INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The case of the New Yorker by birth, Galo Plaza Lasso (1906-1987) is exceptional. He was born in the heart of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, at 5 West 8th Street, one block from the Washington Arch.
His father, a general of the Ecuadorian Liberal Revolution and former president of Ecuador, who arrived in Washington DC as a diplomatic representative (1905) lived with his family in New York until 1912 when he returned to his native country to be reelected president for the second time.
Galo Plaza returned to his native United States where he studied agriculture, economics and diplomacy, as well as being a regular football player.
He is a pioneer of educational, commercial, tourism and development relations between Latin America and the United States. In his hometown he served the United Nations as a mediator in various international conflicts and was Secretary of the General Assembly.
He was a member of several New York clubs, including the Lotus Club, received the keys to the city and a parade exclusively in his honor as well as several recognitions and honorary doctorates from private and academic associations of the city for his contributions promoting democracy. , freedom of expression and
PIONEER FOR WORKERS
Blanca Rosa Rodríguez (1907-1992) was born in Guatemala and was sent to a convent in California when she was nine years old and worked in Mexico as a journalist and poet. He came to New York in 1928 and lived in East Harlem.
After ten years of emigration, he adopted the name Luisa in honor of Luisa Capetilla, a Puerto Rican activist who preceded him, and the surname Moreno, as identification with the working class he helped organize.
She survived as a seamstress and organized a small union of Hispanic seamstresses. In 1935 he worked in the American Federation of Labor organizing workers in cigar factories in Florida.
She was a spokesperson for housing needs, dangerous working conditions, discrimination, low wages, women’s and immigrant issues. He dedicated himself to working for social justice during the 1930s and participated in campaigns for civil and labor rights.
She organized Latina women in Texas and in 1939 organized in Los Angeles a thousand delegates from a hundred organizations to form the Congress of the Spanish-Speaking People, the first congress of that magnitude in the history of the United States, three decades before the formation of the national Latino organizations, which emerged in the sixties and seventies.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Hispanic artists in theater, film, television, and in music gained greater visibility in the postwar period, in New York a whole host of musicians and artists emerged. New York has been the home of Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno since she was five years old and Cuban singer Rita Moreno until her death.
In 1914, the Colombian writer Alirio Díaz Guerra published his novel Lucas Guevara in New York, the first work by a migrant in the history of the United States.
In 1922 the collection of poems “ Desolación, the first work of the future Nobel Prize in Chilean Literature, Gabriela Mistral, was also published in New York.
In New York the first Hispanic American who won an Oscar, Anthony Quinn (1915-2001) studied and worked, he even impersonated Captain Frank Martelli, of the NYPD in the film Across 110th Street, on East Harlem, in addition in this city there are several of his works of art.
His contributions as a Hispanic are not limited to his brilliant film career, he also participated in and supported various causes, among them he financed a Latino group, the Congress of Spanish-Speaking Peoples, a California-based coalition for rights activism. labor and civil, which operated from 1930 to 1940.
New York has been the home of the Puerto Rican writer and activist Jesús Colón (1901 1974) and Antonia Pantoja, a Puerto Rican teacher who founded ASPIRA (1961), an educational organization through which he fought against racism promoting a sense of organization, to educate and empower your community.
POLICY AND ORGANIZATIONS
The Puerto Rican Forum established in 1957 promotes community leadership and the establishment of groups such as ASPIRA and the early seventies of the Young Lords Party.
In politics, New York has been the electoral base for the triumph of several Hispanics in national politics, beginning with Herman Badillo, the first Puerto Rican elected to the House of Representatives, as well as Robert García, Nydia Velásquez, José Serrano, who were driven by the founding of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (1976) and NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Cubans and Puerto Ricans in the Bronx created El Club Cubano Interamericano (1945) which was a group that unites Afro-Latinos with Afro-Americans for political and social events. A year later, in 1946, Ecuadorians founded their first community organization, the Ecuador Sporting Club.
During this time, a series of groups, especially Caribbean ones, continue to flourish, which we enumerated in a previous note.
COMPANIES, SPORTS AND FASHION
In New York, business empires such as Goya Foods have emerged, with eighty-five years of existence, whose expansion was thanks to the vision of the New Yorker by birth, Joseph A. Unanue, in whose presidency the company expanded from a family business specialized in ethnic products, a brand of
multinational products present in stores and supermarkets throughout the city.
At the sporting level, the National Black League (NNL), a baseball team active between the 1930s and 1940s, established by Cuban players, included players of other Hispanic nationalities, inside and outside the United States, while most of them were ignored. by sports leagues. In 1947 they won the world championship, as recorded by the Smithsonian Institution.
New York has been the home of Ecuadorian Pancho Segura, one of the pioneers of professional tennis in the United States, member of the national tennis hall of fame, coach of four-time US Open champion Jimmy Connors.
New York being the Mecca of fashion, entertainment and gastronomy, the presence of great icons of these industries has made an important mark and the names of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera are closely linked to the city, as well as the presence of chefs of international prestige who are only the most visible face of armies of Hispanics working in the food and restaurant industry, which despite the pandemic, have survived and flourished, to continue promoting the Hispanic American gastronomic culture.
In New York several international leaders and stars were born, such as Galo Plaza (Manhattan 1906), Ernesto Tito Puente (Harlem 1923), the composer and singer Joan Baez (Staten Island 1941) and the new generation of international stars, among them Jennifer López. , Lin Manuel Miranda.
From national heroes such as Simón Bolívar, Jose Martí and Eloy Alfaro, to a significant number of Hispanic Americans in the military forces of various countries, there is a great history based on New York City, where Hispanics today continue to write history and representing a new
These are some of the men and women who demonstrate the key participation of Hispanics in the history and ties of the United States with Latin America. We remember them as an inspiration in the daily celebration of Hispanic Heritage.