The contributions of the black population to the history and
economic development of Puerto Rico have long been distorted and
underplayed, Luis A. Figueroa contends. Focusing on the
southeastern coastal region of Guayama, one of Puerto Rico's three
leading centers of sugarcane agriculture, Figueroa examines the
transition from slavery and slave labor to freedom and free labor
after the 1873 abolition of slavery in colonial Puerto Rico. He
corrects misconceptions about how ex-slaves went about building
their lives and livelihoods after emancipation and debunks standing
myths about race relations in Puerto Rico.
Historians have assumed that after emancipation in Puerto Rico, as
in other parts of the Caribbean and the U.S. South, former slaves
acquired some land of their own and became subsistence farmers.
Figueroa finds that in Puerto Rico, however, this was not an option
because both capital and land available for sale to the Afro-Puerto
Rican population were scarce. Paying particular attention to class,
gender, and race, his account of how these "libertos" joined the
labor market profoundly revises our understanding of the
emancipation process and the evolution of the working class in
The University of North Carolina Press
|Country of origin:
Luis A. Figueroa
||Electronic book text
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