The cigar workers sought to make themselves heard first through their newspaper and tehn by striking to make people listn to them:
That strike had a special meaning for Puerto Rican workers. An indirect result of that struggle was that many other unions came to recognize the important role that Puerto Ricans can play as workers. It was then that they began to organize Puerto Rican confectioners, bakers, hotel and restaurant employees, and workers in the needle trades. We finally began to enjoy wages and hours equal to those of workers of other nationalities. (Vega 114)
Vega was one of the leaders of the strike and explains the different factions involved and how class politics played a role in the way the different factions divided. Underlying the strike was the desire on the part of this community to be accepted by the larger society and not to be seen as outsiders, though this was a desire that could not be achieved to any significant degree at the time, nor has it to this day.
Vega is able to contribute to the history of the Puerto Rican community in the U.S. because he was part of that community and was actively involved in the effort to make this community into part of the adopted home. He also found that New York was very much a place where different ethic groups gathered but also where those groups tended to separate...
He set out to preserve those aspects of the Puerto Rican heritage that he was privy to and used his book to detail the changes taking place in the Puerto Rican community in New York well into the twentieth century. He describes many of the people he worked with and those he met in New York, people who would be part of the developing American-Puerto Rican community and who would constitute the history of that community for those living today. He also describes much of the history of his people as he hears it from others or remembers from what he was told in Puerto Rico and so shows the continuity in the community even as it evolves into something different than it was before.
Vega, Bernardo. Memoirs of Bernardo Vega: A Contribution to the History of the Puerto Rican Community in New York. Edited by Cesar Andreu Iglesias, translated by Juan Flores. New York: Monthly Review Press,…
Truth and Fiction: The Disputed Authorship of the Memoirs of Bernardo Vega The Memoirs of Bernardo Vega detail the early 20th century immigrant experience of Bernardo Vega, a cigar-maker who immigrated to New York in 1916 and was an eyewitness to the rise of the socialist and labor movements of the era. Although cigar making might seem like a blue-collar occupation, at the time it was considered an art within the Puerto