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April 2012

An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans

Bayor, Ronald H., ed. Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans. (Volume 1-4). Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood, 2011.

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This 4-volume encyclopedia brings together for the first time reference information on the “Newest Americans”, the new immigrant groups hailing from 50 different countries around the world that have become an intrinsic part of the social, economic and cultural fabric of the Unites States. What sets this study apart from other academic studies on immigrants, second-generation immigrants and newly naturalized Americans is its focus on those immigrants who arrived to the United States after 1965, the year that saw the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act which abolished the national origins quota system in place since the 1920s. This landmark legislation opened the gates to a new immigration that re-shaped American society.

Written by a wide array of historians, sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists with roots in the countries under discussion, the encyclopedia is not only a great bibliographical source material, but also an innovative contribution to the re-conceptualization of immigrant studies in the Unites States.The section on the Dominican Republic was written by Sociologist Ramona Hernández, Historian Anthony Stevens-Acevedo with the contribution of CUNY DSI Assistant Librarian Nelson Santana. This concise and well-documented section includes a historical chronology from 1492 to 2009 which briefly mentions Juan Rodríguez, one of the first-known Dominican immigrants in New York City. (Rodríguez arrived in a Dutch ship in 1613).Consequently, the background information on history is comprised of the following thematic sections: The Spaniards and the First European Colony of the Americas, The Africans and the Birth of Slavery in the Americas, A Colony That Became Two: La Española and the Birth of Saint Domingue, Dominicans and Haitians: 1822-1844, The Republic and Beyond, The First U. S. Military Occupation: 1916-1924, The Generalisimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, Juan Bosch and the First Constitutional Election, The 1965 Revolution and U.S. occupation. Furthermore, the authors provide an insightful history of Dominican migration to the United States by examining the causes of migration (push factors) while looking at little explored subjects such as the early migration through Ellis Island as well as immigration after 1965 tied in to structural changes in migration policy in the US and political upheaval at home.

The authors also discuss the demographic profile of the Dominican community in the United States.  Relying on census statistics, the section highlights the size, composition, geographical distribution, patterns of settlement and economic attainment, poverty, unemployment and class compositions of Dominicans in the US.

In addition to examining social, economic and gender issues, the encyclopedia pays special attention to important manifestations of popular culture and music that have been brought to the United States by the Newer Americans. Like other immigrant groups in the US, Dominicans bring with them their musical heritage—and cuisine— and at times, re-create it with new, added ingredients that are part American part Dominican. This dichotomy is carefully disserted in an essay by CUNY DSI Assistant Librarian Nelson Santana. 

The section ends with an appendix titled “Notable Dominicans”, a glossary, a reference section and a further reading list.

Multicultural America: An encyclopedia of the Newest Americans is an informative, reference tool that presents to the English-Speaking reader relevant historical, sociological and cultural data on the Dominican Republic and its people as well as on Dominican immigrants who call the US their new home.

Amaury Rodríguez, Library Research Assistant


U.S. government declassified documents on the Dominican Republic at DSI

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library would like to thank Dr. Norberto James Rawlings for donating copies of U.S. government declassified documents on the Dominican Republic. While conducting research in the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts; Dr. James Rawlings, an accomplished poet in his own right, looked through declassified documents and photocopied them. Thanks to his efforts, researchers and the general public can have access to these declassified papers in our library.

USA-Dominican Republic Documents (1961-1962; 1963; 1964-1965)

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This collection of declassified documents covers three transformative events in US-Dominican relations during the 20th century: first, the last years of the Trujillo dictatorship (1930-1961); second, the post-dictatorial period which includes mass mobilizations in the midst of the Cold War and growing social and political instability in Latin America and the rest of the globe; and third, the short-lived democratic experiment exemplified in the populist government of former President Juan Bosch (1909-2001) from the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), and its subsequent overthrow in a right wing military coup seven months after taking power in 1963. As a direct result, a radicalized wing of the armed forces launched a counter-coup in 1965 opening the gates to a popular revolt with long lasting consequences for the region. This prompted the US government to dispatch a large contingent of marines with the aim of crushing the revolution and in the process, prevent the emergence of “another Cuba” in the hemisphere. Meanwhile, US intelligence agencies aided the military occupation by conducting a close surveillance of the pro-Bosch forces, President Bosch as well as the left organizations that backed the popular revolt. 

The declassified documents come from a number of different sources: State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, American Embassy in the Dominican Republic, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Office of Attorney General, The White House, The Secretary of State and The Papers of Arthur M. Schlesinger. They are comprised of memos, diplomatic cables, newspapers and magazine clippings, scholarly articles, and intelligence reports which cover the period from November 30, 1959 to June 23, 1965. The primary source material collected here reflect the ideological framework prevalent at the time: anti-communist hysteria provoked by US military involvement in Vietnam, US government fears of the Soviet Union and China as well as the growing influence of the Cuban revolution.  Another important revelation is the Jim Crow era, racist and reactionary worldview that permeates a number of documents written by US intelligence agents.

These declassified documents are of special interests to researchers working on the following areas of academic study: US-Dominican relations, US-Latin American relations, the 1965 revolution in the Dominican Republic, the role of intelligence agencies during the Cold War, Juan Bosch, populism, social movements, Labor unions, the Trujillo dictatorship, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, The Vietnam war, government secrecy, covert operations, US media and propaganda.

Amaury Rodríguez, Library Research Assistant


Music Recording by Irka Mateo at DSI

Professor Sarah Aponte would like to thank Dominican musician, researcher and educator Irka Mateo for donating Anacaona, her 2009 music CD album, to the Dominican Library. We met Irka Mateo during the International Dominican Writers Book Fair which took place last month in Washington Heights, New York. During the opening ceremony, Irka Mateo was honored for her solid musical work and her contribution to the dissemination of the Dominican folkloric idiom rooted in the indigenous Taino culture, a shared legacy of both Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Anacaona. USA: Irka Mateo/Socan, 2009.

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This 10-track compact disk features Irka Mateo’s explorations into the rich and varied world of Dominican Folklore music preserved to this day by peasants from the most isolated and neglected areas of the country.  Her music blends pop instrumentation with African and Taino percussion to create a soothing sound accompanied by versatile lyrics in Spanish which re-create the lost Taino world with tales of resistance, love and survival that are at the core of this musical offering. In spite of all the references to the past, this music remains new and modern.There lies its originality and, ultimately, its universal appeal.

Amaury Rodríguez, Library Research Assistant


Diosas de la yuca de Marianela Medrano

La Prof. Sarah Aponte agradece una vez más a la Dra. Marianela Medrano por las generosas donaciones que ha hecho a nuestra Biblioteca. En esta ocasión resaltamos su más reciente donación el poemario Diosas de la yuca. Nos sentimos muy contentos de ser la primera biblioteca que cataloga el libro como un aporte al WorldCat o catálogo mundial.  Compartimos el enlace: http://bit.ly/GCSDqg

Medrano, Marianela. Diosas de la yuca. España, Madrid: Ediciones Torremozas, 2011.

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Arquetipos universales confluyen con la mitología taina y la naturaleza dando lugar a una mirada crítica del mundo actual desde el lenguaje y la creación poética. La acción física, por medio de la danza, juega un papel preponderante en la obra.  Resaltan en estas páginas la problemática urbana, el exilio y la inmigración, la falsedad histórica en torno a la conquista de América, el silencio de la mujer, la soledad y la memoria entre otros. De lo que se trata, entre otras muchas cosas, es de rescatar las raíces ancestrales; en suma, la memoria histórica del Caribe.

Los poemas aquí reunidos forman parte de la Colección Jacarandá de la casa editorial Española Ediciones Torramozas la cual está dedicada a la difusión de literatura escrita por mujeres. El libro está dividido en cinco secciones temáticas: Crónicas, Tristeza urbana, Genealogía, Diosas de la yuca  y Reflejos en el agua.

Amaury Rodríguez, Asistente de Investigación de la Biblioteca