Cover image for The Dominican Americans
The Dominican Americans
Torres-Saillant, Silvio.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xxi, 184 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1500 Lexile.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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E184.D6 T67 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This profile of Dominican Americans closes a critical gap in information about the accomplishments of one of the largest immigrant groups in the United States. Beginning with a look at the historical background and the roots of native Dominicans, this book then carries the reader through the age-old romance of U.S. and Dominican relations. With great detail and clarity, the authors explain why the Dominicans left their land and came to the United States. The book includes discussions of education, health issues, drugs and violence, the visual and performing arts, popular music, faith, food, gender, and race. Most important, this book assesses how Dominicans have adapted to America, and highlights their losses and gains. The work concludes with an evaluation of Dominicans' achievements since their arrival as a group three decades ago and shows how they envision their continued participation in American life. Biographical profiles of many notable Dominican Americans such as artists, sports greats, musicians, lawyers, novelists, actors, and activists, highlight the text.

The authors have created a novel book as they are the first to examine Dominicans as an ethnic minority in the United States and highlight the community's trials and tribulations as it faces the challenge of survival in a economically competitive, politically complex, and culturally diverse society. Students and interested readers will be engaged by the economic and political ties that have attached Americans to Dominicans and Dominicans to Americans for approximately 150 years. While massive immigration of Dominicans to the United States began in the 1960s, a history of previous contact between the two nations has enabled the development of Dominicans as a significant component of the U.S. population. Readers will also understand the political and economic causes of Dominican emigration and the active role the United States government had in stimulating Dominican immigration to the United States. This book traces the advances of Dominicans toward political empowerment and summarizes the cultural expressions, the survival strategies, and the overall adaptation of Dominicans to American life.

Author Notes

SILVIO TORRES-SAILLANT is Assistant Professor of English at Hostos Community College, CUNY, and the Director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at The City College of New York. He is a native of the Dominican Republic and has lived in the United States. since 1973. He is also author of Caribbean Poetics (1997).

RAMONA HERNÁNDEZ is Assistant Professor in the Latino Studies Program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a Research Associate in the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute. She was born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, and has lived in New York City since 1973. She is a coauthor of Dominican New Yorkers: A Socioeconomic Profile (1995).

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. ix
Series Forewordp. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Prefacep. xix
Introduction: A Brief Historical Backgroundp. 1
The Landp. 1
The Native Inhabitantsp. 1
The Conquestp. 2
The African Populationp. 3
Roots of Dominicannessp. 4
Precarious Autonomyp. 5
1. U.S.-Dominican Relations: An Age-Old Romancep. 9
The Rediscovery of Dominicansp. 9
Dominican Familiarity with the United Statesp. 10
American Ideas and the Birth of the Dominican Statep. 11
American Agents in Santo Domingop. 14
American Idylls in the Dominican Landp. 17
Bringing Dominicans into the Unionp. 19
Dominican Blackness and Frederick Douglassp. 22
Dominicans in an American Protectoratep. 23
Americans Governing Dominicans: 1916-1924p. 26
Dominicans Americanizedp. 28
The Dominican Exodusp. 29
2. Escape from the Native Landp. 33
A Continuous Exodusp. 33
Who Are the Immigrants?p. 34
The Making of a Migratory Movementp. 36
Restructuring the Dominican Economyp. 37
Stability, Family Planning, and Emigrationp. 39
Economic Growth and Surplus Populationp. 44
Modernization and Import Substitutionp. 45
The Cattle-Agricultural Sectorp. 47
Economic Changesp. 47
Accumulation and Crisisp. 53
The Great Escapep. 59
3. Dominicans in the United States: The Rise of a Communityp. 61
Labor Market Experiencep. 61
Prior to Migrationp. 64
Distribution of Dominican Workersp. 64
Occupations and Earningsp. 67
Employment, Unemployment, Outcomesp. 70
Education and Residential Patternsp. 72
Dominicans in Businessp. 74
Who Are the Business Owners?p. 77
Assessing the Business Sectorp. 78
Voluntary Associationsp. 80
Membership and Participationp. 82
Social Functionp. 84
Professionals and Advocacyp. 85
Educationp. 86
Health Issuesp. 91
Drugs and Violencep. 93
Political Empowermentp. 96
4. Forging a Dominican-American Culturep. 101
Dominican Invisibilityp. 101
The Nineteenth Centuryp. 104
The Early Twentieth Centuryp. 105
Individual Dominicans in the United Statesp. 107
Dominicans in the United States as Exilesp. 109
Dominican-American Literaturep. 111
Visual Artsp. 121
Performing Artsp. 125
Popular Musicp. 133
Faith and Foodp. 138
Genderp. 141
Racep. 143
Diasporic Identityp. 145
5. The Future of Dominican Americansp. 149
No Longer Birds of Passagep. 149
The Anti-Immigrant Wavep. 152
The Tension of Here and Therep. 156
The Obstacle of Racep. 157
Hoping for the Bestp. 158
Bibliographyp. 161
Indexp. 173