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Latinas/os on the East Coast

A Critical Reader


Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya

Latinas/os on the East Coast: A Critical Reader provides a comprehensive overview of established and contemporary research and essays written about communities that represent the Latina/o diaspora on the East Coast of the United States. Collectively, it contributes to the historical, cultural, political, and economic dynamics that affect the Latinas/os’ lived experience of the country. Analyzed through an interdisciplinary lens, this reader offers a critical examination of the policies and the practices that affect the following current and emerging themes and topics: History; Ethnicity and culture; Immigration, transnationalism, and civil rights; Education; Health; Women’s studies; Film and media studies; Queer studies; Literature; Visual and performing arts.
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
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Women Leave Home for the Factory: Gender, Work, and Family


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Women Leave Home for the Factory

Gender, Work, and Family

Yolonda Prieto

The first time that I saw my mother go out to work was when she became employed at a coat factory after we arrived in Union City in 1968. In Cuba, before marriage, she had briefly held a job as a leaf stripper in a tobacco factory. Even before Cuban independence, working-class women were incorporated into certain sectors of the workforce. One was the tobacco industry. Women—both black and white—werc employed there supposedly because tobacco production required “delicate hands,” which only females could provide. Once my mother married, she left the factory. Later, she became a very well regarded seamstress in our town, but she worked at home. Staying indoors, even when making some money as in the case of my mother, conferred respectability on most Cuban women. The present chapter will briefly trace the history of women and work in Cuba. This account is necessary in order to understand the employment and other behaviors of Cuban women after they emigrated to the United States and to Union City in particular. Subsequently, I will relate the findings of a study on Cuban women and work that I conducted in Union City in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I will also report on a follow-up to the first study in the 1990s. The end of the chapter will discuss the situation of Cuban women who...

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