Interpreting the Evidence
Federal Writer's Project Interview, Case of "J.J.," with a Male Immigrant from Havana, Cuba, 1939
Suggested Teaching Instructions
Interview with a man from Havana, Cuba, conducted by Walt Anderson, reporter for the New York City Unit of the Federal Writers' Project, February 14, 1939. From Spanish Book—Life Histories (Part 1).
Find records of Cuban immigration from the 1880s, when this man came to the U.S., and from the 1950s. What are the numbers of Hispanic immigrants from each of those time periods? What percentage of those people were from Cuba? Why did they flee?
There are many places mentioned in this interview. Label a map of the United States and Cuba with the cities the man mentions and his activities in each city.
English Language Arts: Write a letter to your family back home telling them how things have changed for you, having come from being the “spoiled child” you were to the butcher you are now.
English as a Second Language/Foreign Language: Use key phrases to describe the progression of this man’s life.
Art: Make a collage that includes images that represent this man’s experiences as an immigrant.
Math: Using the inflation calculator listed under Resources below, determine what this man’s wages and expenses in the 1930s would be today. Would you say he made and spent a lot of money or not? Explain. What would his father’s land cost today?
Music: Write a ballad about this man’s life. Set it to music that fits with the emotion of the story.