Part of America's identity is its reputation as a place where anything is possible, where education and hard work are the keys to opportunity and prosperity. It's what brought countless Latino immigrants to America, to Rhode Island, years ago and what continues to draw other bright and hard-working immigrants today.
As the debate over immigration reform heats up, we would do well to remember that America has always been a place of freedom and refuge from poverty and persecution.
The information gathered to create this timeline shows that Rhode Island was indeed built by immigrants.
Rhode Island Latino History | TIMELINE: 1920 to 1980
Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, nicknamed El Jefe, rules the Dominican Republic from February 1930 until his assassination in May 1961.
The first bracero program is implemented between the U.S. and Mexico.
WWII breaks out, which lasted from 1939 to 1945
“Operation Bootsrap” goes into effect, initiating a program of industrial and labor exchange between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.
On February 16, 1959, Castro is sworn in as Prime Minister of Cuba. In 1960 most economic ties between Cuba and the United States are severed, and the U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with the island country in January 1961.
The U.S. Census form does not collect numbers of Hispanics in Rhode Island, listing only “White” and “Other” as it releases population data.
The U.S. Census Bureau counts 5,596 Hispanics in Rhode Island.