47 pages 1 hour read

Judith Ortiz Cofer

American History

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1993

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Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. What do you know about Puerto Rico or Puerto Rican immigration to the mainland United States? If you’re unfamiliar with Puerto Rican immigration, what experiences do you have with immigration and migrants?

Teaching Suggestion: This prompt may help students access background knowledge to prepare them for reading about immigrants in Paterson, New Jersey. This prompt may also prepare them to consider themes of Migration and Displacement, Changing Demographics in Northern Communities, and Racism and Ethnic Discrimination as they read.

  • This page from the Library of Congress discusses Puerto Rican immigration to the United States.
  • This short interview with a Puerto Rican immigrant who settled in Paterson, New Jersey, provides a real-life account that connects to the theme of Migration and Displacement,

2. How did the migration of minority groups to northern cities affect the demographics of these cities? How do you imagine the citizens of these cities reacted to the Changing Demographics of Northern Communities?

Teaching Suggestion: Accessing students’ prior knowledge of migration patterns in the United States, particularly after the Civil War and World War II, can prepare them for the social dynamics presented in “American History.