Joseph Carvalho III is the co-editor of the (Springfield) Republican newspaper’s Heritage Book Series, and retired President and Executive Director of the Springfield Museums in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Shortly after the Spanish-American War of 1899, economic ties developed between Puerto Rico and western Massachusetts. By the 1920s a few Puerto Rican immigrants had made the region home. But not until after World War II did significant and growing Puerto Rican communities emerge in the region's cities. Through case studies of Puerto Rican communities in Springfield, Holyoke, and Westfield, this article documents the gradual integration of Puerto Ricans in western Massachusetts between 1947 and 2010. It argues that, even though Puerto Ricans were unique among immigrant groups because they had American citizenship, they faced many of the same challenges with social and political integration. By the turn of the twenty-first century, however, Puerto Ricans had become increasingly "mainstream" in the region, helping to prepare the way for Spanish-speaking immigrants from other countries.
Finalists competing for the 1st Puerto Rican Heritage Association crown in Springfield, MA. Springfield Union Jun. 19, 1994. Republican file photo.