Hispano Domain

The 1940 Census counted about 165,000 people of Spanish and Latin American descent living in New York City—77,000 from Puerto Rico, 26,000 from Spain, 28,000 from Cuba and the West Indies (including the Dominican Republic), 29,000 from Central and South America, and 6,000 from Mexico. The map shows some of the places where they founded businesses, ran newspapers, established social and political clubs, contributed to the arts, created theatrical and musical venues, and labored in factories.
 
Like other New York ethnic/linguistic groups, hispanos tended to cluster. The most popular neighborhoods were Brooklyn’s Red Hook and Williamsburg; Manhattan’s Lower East Side, West Village, Chelsea, and particularly, East Harlem’s el barrio; and the South Bronx.
 
Not all doors were open to them, as New York was a de facto segregated city. Hispanos—especially those of color—suffered discrimination in housing, employment, and education. In response, they organized to protect and advance their communities.

Pura Belpré. Reproduction. Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY. Pura Belpré was New York’s first Puerto Rican librarian and an accomplished storyteller, folklorist, and author. Hired by the 135th Street library in 1921 to assist the growing number of Spanish-speakers in the area, she began sharing and writing down folktales she heard as a child. Her first book was a love story between a cockroach and a mouse (1932), based on a story she learned from her grandmother. 
Pura Belpré. Reproduction. Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY.
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