Amidst the wars and claims for land I found Chapter 13 New York, ca. 1920s-’60s from the book entitled “EL NORTE” (Gibson, 2019) a refreshing change. The chapter reveals the music, art and cultures that blend together. This feeling emphasizes what was taking place at the time such as the growth of Cuban, Puerto Rican and immigrants from Spain; the mixture of populations intertwined with the arts. It was also during this time period that: whilst a re-creation of a Spanish past may have dwindled down, I actually thought the re-creation was replaced with – what is. Reflecting population demographics and of course language – integral to this idea. As even if one was named as Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Spanish, what united was the Spanish language. This idea is connected to what the author writes as Hispanidad. Where in New York, the blending of cultures was named as Hispanidad. The aim was to create a shared cultural Latin American heritage (2019, p. 342-325).

Feliz Dia De La Hispanidad

Arts, Poetry, Dance, Culture | Hispanidad – This creation was further reinforced with the communities such as: the little Spain neighbourhood in lower Manhattan, Social Clubs named as Union Ibero American that allowed for good relation between Spain and Latin America. With the Spanish communities the Italians and Greek thrived. Here we can also note a significant development of the time that was known as the Protestant work ethic, that was intertwined with elements of opportunity. There was criticism from Migrants such as: Federico García Lorca (1929) (p.325). He was a Spanish poet who studied in New York and Columbia University. We can think of his ideas relating to the present day, such as cultural clashes. His criticisms were not alone. We can combine these views to that of Ezra Pound who viewed Capitalism as the machine driving society (my previous writings from the poem Canto XLV, Ezra Pound). Intertwined with the poetry of Wall Street and the novel by Earnest Hemingway entitled: For Whom the Bell Tolls (p. 326). We could view the merging of cultures and critics who probably preferred the ways of the past. The connectivity of the industrial revolutions forced a reality as a civil war erupted in Spain. This also led to the increase of Spanish Migration to Latin America and immigration quotas.

Moorish Style Architecture

Spanish Artistic Pioneers | I appreciated the names of the artists such as El Cid known for his slayer of the Moors, he was symbolic to Spain, and a part of the Hispanic Society of America (p. 323). Valecian painter Joaquin Soralla y Bautista was also integral to the artistic movements. Archer Miltion Huntington collected every kind of artifacts such as: books, manuscripts, photographs, art, monographs, all relating to the Spanish Culture (p. 323).

Statue of EL Cid – New York, USA.

Columbus Day | I reflected upon the Columbus Day celebrations that were rooted from what was known as Dia de la Raza, Day of the Race on October 12th 1918 (p. 325). This was a day to celebrate Hispanidad, what we have now learned of as a blending of the various cultures, with the common element of the Spanish language. I have written a lot about my argument to say why I am not critical about Columbus Day. As a reminder here – because Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas, began explorations, expeditions and lands that becomes known to Europe and Britain, through Columbus’ first contact. We could argue today that the term: Day of the race might put some people off, but we also have to be mindful of the time period, and the level of intellectual development of the time according to social progress.

Can we keep dancing? | Music was also integral to the blending of cultures, and again connected to the various movements of the time, such as the Civil Rights Movement. Particular areas in New York, such as East 96th Street became known as a Spanish Harlem, due to the growth of popular music that created an overlap between the Spanish, Puerto Rican, Cuban and African cultures (p. 330). These cultural infusions were also overlapped with New Orleans. The merger was known as the Latin tinge, with sounds of Jazz (p. 330). And of course we cannot leave out the blending of Dance with the arts and music. Cuban cultural music was increased by the level of tourism to Cuba. Thus followed the Rhumba, Mambo, Latin Boogaloo and the Salsa. The sounds of Salsa took over the Latin American music industry (p. 330).

Salsa Dancers
Dancing Feet are reading – My personal Images shared via my Instagram

Community | The creation of community, the artistic movements and immigrant population who was trying to create a life, a type of new normalcy was viewed with the remnants of the past. Catholicism of the Spanish empire was traced with the images of the Mother Mary peering through the windows. New York was also linked to the events that were taking place in the Deep South. The Mexican rebel movements / revolutions as U.S. troops from New York were called to serve and hunt for Pancho Villa (p. 329).

Puerto-Rico – The idea or word of insurrection which did come up again in this chapter, which happened within Puerto-Rico because the island wanted to solve for its independence (p. 341), the insurrection was armed, once again made me think about the Capitol Riots of January 6th 2021. Whilst there is a judicial process in-place today, I thought about what the rioters may be demanding?

Old San Juan – Puerto Rico

Puerto-Rico had a vision for a Puerto Rican Raza / Hispanidad, to embrace the Spanish language and and Catholicism as: “a free nation in order to survive as a people” (p. 333).

President Roosevelt signed a deal with Puerto Rico as the PRRA – Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. This deal would be profitable for Puerto-Ricans, however, was a great source of tension to USA sugar companies which led to a spur in violence (p.334).

Puerto-Rico – city famed for its vibrant colors.

Chapter Notes | The second part of this chapter contain many details about Puerto-Rico which I hope to revisit again and re-read. Due to current events that have been taking place with the Afghanistan Mission, evacuations and terror attack, I found my thoughts confounded, and would like to take a pause and continue on with my reading, and will update this page if needed. Thank you.

Related Blog Posts:


Gibson, C. (2019). EL NORTE The Epic and Forgotten History of Hispanic North America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Helpful Links:

Notes: These thoughts were originally hand-written on September 1st with additions on September 7th, 2021. Please note that these are my thoughts and views upon my reading to gain an understanding of American history of what interested me within this chapter, there are many more points that have not been discussed within my writing. 

With Love & Kindness! 🙂

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