In the 1950s, Puerto Ricans often found themselves unwelcome in New York City (and elsewhere in the US) as they tried to carve out a place for themselves and their families. Sometimes beaten by their neighbors, or by the police, they were given the lowest-paying jobs and the worst housing in the city.
And so, in 1958, Puerto Rican leaders decided to hold a modest parade where they could march arm in arm with pride through the heart of Manhattan.
Fathers taught their children…by pointing to floats dedicated to Puerto Rican towns known for sugarcane, coffee, tobacco, plantains and pineapples.
Mothers tapped their feet…to the bombas, plenas and aguinaldos that evoked memories of their island childhood.
By 1966, the parade was already a “must do” event for national celebrities and politicians.
Today, the parade is a star-studded TV spectacle with 90,000 marchers, 2 million spectators and a horde of corporate sponsors. Marc Anthony, J.Lo, Ricky Martin, Victor Cruz, and Mayor…
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