What happens when ten Puerto Rican men try to register to vote in 1950s Connecticut? Despite a lengthy public debate that ends up at the state supreme court, we don’t even know all ten of their names. How much of their story can we uncover?
What happens when ten Puerto Rican men try to register to vote in 1950s Connecticut? Their eligibility is contested, and Democrats and Republicans become embroiled in a heated debate that ends at the Connecticut Superior Court. The ten Puerto Rican men, however, get lost at the wayside … we don’t even know all ten of their names. How much of their story can we uncover?
In this episode, public historian Elena Marie Rosario sifts through archival records to recreate the story of these ten men, while also paying attention to how underlying themes of colonialism, ethnicity, and politics direct their story.
View the full episode transcript.
Public Historian Elena Marie Rosario is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on Puerto Rican migration and settlement in twentieth-century Connecticut. Elena’s work joins historical and public humanities methodologies to center Puerto Ricans in local and state history. Her public history dissertation, “Puerto Rican Tobacco Migration, Postwar Settlement, and Community Development in Hartford, Connecticut, 1947-1973,”documents the history of Puerto Ricans in the city and produces material that makes Puerto Rican stories publicly accessible. Rosario works with the community through oral interviews, curriculum writing, teacher professional development, and other publicly engaged projects.
Episode Producer: Elena Marie Rosario
Host and Season Producer: Hannah Roussel
Executive Producer: Gregory Parker
Editorial Board: Elizabeth Collins, Paige Newhouse, Gregory Parker, Hannah Roussel, David Tamayo, Kira Thurman, Hannah Tweet, Jeffrey Veidlinger, Sophie Wunderlich
Image: Detail, “How to Hire Agricultural Workers from Puerto Rico, 1951.” Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. Collection: The Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association Files, 1943-1966, gift of Cecilia C. Lasbury, 1983.36. Windsor Historical Society, Windsor, Connecticut.
Music: Kjartan Abel, “Noir: A Minimalist and Emotive Piano Melody for Relaxation,” CC BY-SA 4.0.
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Elena Marie Rosario
Gregory Parker and Hannah Roussel
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