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Tato Laviera was involved in the affirmation and transformation of the Puerto Rican identity in the United States. Tato was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Sanchez arrived in Lower East Side of New York at the age of 9. Before he migrated to the United States, he studied under a well known black Puerto Rican performer of Afro-Antillean poetry. Sanchez attended Cornell University, in upstate New York, and Brooklyn college, butdid not receive a college degree. He later on engaged in social and community work for some years and finally branched into full time writing career. His first poetic pieces La careta made U-turn (1979), disputes the tragic view of the migrant experience presented by rene marques play neglected the multifaceted reality of those Puerto Rican migrants who never return to the island or whose offspring are born in the United States.
In other words, Laviera represents the voice of a new generation born in the United States. Sanchez represents the voice of a new generation of Puerto Rican’s, unwilling to relinquish their Puerto Ricanness in a United States that is no longer the exclusive domain of white Anglo-Saxon culture. He thought classes in Puerto Rican studies department at Rutgers University’s Livingston college from 1979 to 1981. He also stresses the impact of Latino culture on mainstream U. S. culture and portrays an Anglocentric society being transformed by multiculturalism. His poems “my graduation speech,” and “asimolao” are very good examples of how he uses code-switching, colloquial speech, and humor to convey the linguistic and cultural hybridity of the Nuyorican experience. He also acknowledges the powerful influence of Afro-Caribbean poetry and musical rhythms on his work. Sanchez uses irony and wordplay in his work and has become one of the most powerful poetic voices in denouncing the consequences of American domination in Puerto Rico, and also linking the Puerto Rican migratory exodus to the island’s colonial condition.
Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was a leading Afro-Puerto Rican collector, writer, and activist. Schomburg was born in Puerto Rico laundress and a merchant, where he grew up in San Juan until he moved to New York City in 1891. Here he became involved in the Puerto Rican and Cuban independence movements. He founded the revolutionary club Las Dos Antillas (The Two Antilles), serving as a secretary between 1892 and 1896. He also joined a Spanish-speaking Masonic called Sol de Cuba. He later moved up the ladder and rose to leadership positions within New York City’s black Masonic movement, becoming Grand Secretary between 1918 and 1926. Being Puerto Rican, West Indian, Caribbean, Spanish, Black, and American, he used his individualities to negotiate on the behalf of many groups and got a lot of support behind him due to his diversity and background.
Schomburg withdrew from Puerto Rican and Cuban affairs after the Spanish-Cuban-American war in 1898 and turned his focus to the African American community. He collaborated with the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, people like Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and W. E. B Dubois. He posted in the English-speaking press on a regular basis and used the name Guarionex (for Taino cacique). Schomburg gathered one of the largest collections of material on African diasporas of his time, including books, letters, and artwork. His work serves as a core in the Schomburg Center of Research on Black Culture, and also his contribution towards the New York public library in Harlem where he later became a curator of his own collection to his death. Schomburg used pathos as a way of reaching out to the large group of people he could represent, which were African-American, Hispanic as well as American. He used this advantage to get a large following and fought for better human rights. He served as an inspiration to Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and African-American on the same line, contributing to a better life for the society as a whole and helping future generations in the civil rights movement.
Pedro Juan Soto was one of the prominent Puerto Rican authors from Catano which is part of a widely recognized group of islands born writers. Other examples of people from Catano are writers like Rene Marques and Luis Gonzales. These writers were the first to pay attention to the Puerto Rican migrant experience. Soto, a supporter of Puerto Rico’s independence from the United States, underscored the psychological impact of cultural dilemmas faced by working class Puerto Rican migrants in the New York metropolis during the years of the Great Migration. After graduating from high school in 1946, Soto left Puerto Rico for the United States to pursue premedical studies at Long Island University. But he later abandoned his original career goal in favor of a degree in English literature. He wrote several of New York cities newspapers in the Spanish language during his college years. But a year of military service during the Korean War interrupted his activities. Soto enrolled at Teachers College at Columbia University, where he got his masters degree in 1953. He returned to Puerto Rico a year later to work for the División para la Educación de la Comunidad.
Known as a culture dissemination agency of the Puerto Rican government. His short story “Los inocentes” received the second prize in a literary contest sponsored by one of the main cultural institutions of Puerto Rico. The story focuses on the dislocating effects of migratory experience on a Puerto Rican family living in New York. It also reveals the strong influence on Soto’s work of the American modernist fiction writer William Faulkner. Soto also taught newly established program in Puerto Rican studies at State University of New York at Buffalo. Later on he returned to the island and for many years was a faculty member at the University of Puerto Rico until he died. All his novels, plays and essays were focused primarily on political issues affecting Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region. Only his first two novels have been translated into English.
Rene Marques was one of the most accomplished and internationally known playwrights in Puerto Rico. He was among the first writers to introduce the topic of the migrant experience into Puerto Rican letters. He was also part of the generation of 1950, which was a group of islands born writers, including Jose Luis Gonzales and Pedro Juan Soto. Marques was trained and worked as an agronomist during the 1940s before pursuing a career as a playwright, fiction writer, journalist, and university professor. In 1946, Marques went to Spain to study literature and theater. His first play “El sol y los MacDonald” (the sun and the Macdonald family, 1946), explained how Marques would combine the avant-garde experimental theater and existentialist philosophy of Europe and North America with specific circumstances and events In Puerto Rican history.
When he returned to Puerto Rico in 1947, he became a frequent literary contributor to newspapers and magazines and continued writing plays. His first published play was “El hombre y sus sueńos” (man and his dreams). He appeared in one of the islands leading literary journals, Asomante. In 1949 he received a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to study theater in New York, at Columbia University and Erwin Piscartors Dramatic workshop at the new school. Marques also wrote Palm Sunday (1949), an unpublished play in English that focuses on the killing of Puerto Rican Nationalists during the phone massacre, on Palm Sunday, 1937. A year of living in New York gave Marques a swift introduction to the prejudice and hardships confronted by Puerto Rican’s who had moved to the U. S. during the great migration. Also, his fellow islanders circumstances inspired La carreta which was Marques best- known drama. La carreta was divided into three acts, each representing a different stage of the Puerto Rican migratory journey at a time when Puerto Rico was making its transition from an agricultural society to an industrial one.
The play revolves around the lives of a displaced peasant family forced to leave its home because of the poverty and destitution that overwhelmed the islands rural areas. The families first relocated to San Juan, which was the capital then later migrated to New York City barrio. Each stage, family members are overpowered by economic survival issues and by a series of ill-fated events that threaten the traditional values and strong bonds that once held them together. The play presents a pessimistic view of the destiny awaiting those Puerto Rican’s who migrated to the United States, and whose only salvation is to return to the abandoned homelands.
In many ways, La carreta offers a tragic, narrow view of migrant life, failing to capture the vast range of experiences of those generations of Puerto Rican’s whose lives were or became rooted in the United States. After returning to Puerto Rico in 1950, Marques, along with other writers and artists, worked for the “División para la Educación de la Comunidad” (A division for community education; Divedco) of Puerto Rico’s Departamento de Instrucción Pública (Department of Public Instruction). This government agency played an important role in strengthening cultural nationalism and popular education on the island during the U. S operation Bootstrap industrialization program, which began in the late 1940s and continued into the 1960s. He thought the University of Puerto Rico and retired in the early 1970s.
Willie Perdomo was the youngest writers to get introduced to the Nuyorican Poet Cafe. he grew up in East Harlem, Willie got into fights until a school employee mentored him into channeling his energy into writing. He began writing his senior year of high school, he published some of his work in New Youth Connections. Perdomo earned his bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, he has been an artist-in residence at Workspace, a studio residency program of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a creative writer at Columbia University. African American writer Claude Brown called Perdomo a manifestation of the renowned Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Willie first poetry collection “Where a Nickel Costs a Dime” comes from a line in a Hughes poem is a collection of letters, dialogue, and popular songs, and with a mix of Spanish popular hip hop and rap. In his poem Nigger-Reecan Blues, he talks about the racial conflict between being black and Puerto Rican.
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