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Library of Congress additions to Primary Source Set: Puerto Rican Identity

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Published on Wed, 06/30/2021

15 year old girl in long ruffled blue gown sits on a throne-like chair

A featured primary source set at the Library of Congress, Puertorriqueños de Estados Unidos: Identity, Arts, and Culture (June 11, 2021 by Stephanie Hall), and the feature from the Library's PALABRA Archive Online Feature, "On Language and Colony: A Linguistic Trajectory of Puerto Rico's Identity as the World’s Oldest Colony" both complement a source set created by  Emerging America in 2016 with materials pertaining to Puerto Rican identity in the United States. Browse through all three resources! The introduction to Emerging America's source set is shared below.

Civics and U.S. History courses raise the question: What does it mean to be an American? The case of Puerto Rico is an interesting one because Puerto Ricans find themselves in limbo between American citizenship and Puerto Rican nationalism. Both primary source sets explore the unique relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States including the different factors that influence Puerto Rican identity, including nationalism, political status, culture, and migration. In addition to primary source materials from the Library of Congress, the set contains an extensive introduction into Puerto Rican immigration history in the United States, secondary source recommendations, and classroom activity ideas. Included in the downloadable Emerging America source set is a subsection devoted to Lolita Lebron, a Puerto Rican nationalist involved in a 1954 attack on the U.S. Congress, sure to ignite students’ interest. Images from this subset include Lebron’s arrest, her hotel room at the time of the attack, and a “Free Lolita Lebron” poster. This primary source set on Puerto Rican identity can be used in conjunction with other case studies in order to compare and contrast different American identities. View more details, and download or access the lesson plan online. Emerging America brings this primary source set to you thanks to the outstanding primary sources and materials provided free by the Library of Congress.

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Alison Noyes

Assistant Director, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the Assistant Director of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years, entering as a teacher of English Language learners and high school history, and working for many years with international students and college study abroad as a program director and assistant dean before returning to focus on engaging K-12 students.