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Caribbean New York

Caribbean New York

(p.21) Chapter 1 Caribbean New York
City of Islands
Tammy L. Brown
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter provides an overview of Caribbean New York from the advent of the “New Negro” in 1920s Harlem through the rise of cultural pluralism as a democratic value in local politics in 1980s Brooklyn. During the first wave of Caribbean immigration to the United States during the opening decades of the twentieth century, 36,000 Caribbean immigrants flocked to New York in search of good-paying jobs and social mobility. The majority of these newcomers hailed from Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. As an American cultural capital and African-diasporic mecca, New York’s social climate was progressive in many ways. However, black immigrants quickly learned that northern-style Jim Crow racism hindered their upward social mobility. In response to institutional and quotidian racism, this highly educated group of “New Immigrants” joined American-born blacks in the fight for social justice. Dr. Brown uses the biographies of individual Caribbean religious leaders, political activists and artists to show how individual personality and immigrant cultural identity shaped the political activism of Caribbean intellectuals.

Keywords:   Caribbean, New York, Immigration, New Negro, racism

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