charlie morgan research question 2

In many ways my research question has stayed true to how it was originally conceived. I have continued to focus on Puerto Rican communities in New York in the 20th Century, however have moved my starting point further in time from the 1917 Jones Act to the ‘The Great Migration’ that took place after World War Two. The biggest change has been that my focus has now shifted from solely looking at the Nuyorican movement to examining them in comparison and contract to the Young Lords that preceded them.

My initial hypothesis that the Nuyorican movement and the Nuyorican Poets Café came out of the decline of the radical movements (Young Lords, el Comite etc) has proven true but what has emerged is that the links between the two movements were greater than I expected. A number of the Nuyorican poets had been involved in either the Young Lords or the civil rights movement (the former took a lot of influence from the latter) and that in turn provided great inspiration for their poetry.

In my initial research question I wrote that language would be a problem due to my limited grasp of Spanish. However, what emerged was that the Nuyorican poets rarely wrote completely in Spanish and produced far more poetry that was bilingual. In itself this has proven to be an integral part of my research. I have focused on how the Nuyoricans developed their own way of speaking and that this was done in response to discrimination from both white Americans and older Puerto Ricans. The Nuyorican movement was then defined by language as much as it was by art.

Ultimately my research has built upon my initial question but also re-shaped it. I have examined the Puerto Rican struggles for recognition and identity in New York and looked at how they shifted from political struggles to cultural and artistic ones. As mentioned, this research has primarily been conducted through the prism of language.

The archival collections at Fales Library proved not to be as useful as initially expected, especially as the audio recordings were unavailable. Primary source locations were the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City of New York University, the New York Public Library Theatre Collections, Tamiment Archives at New York University and the Nuyorican Poets Café itself.

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