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Islanders in the EmpireFilipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawai'i$
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JoAnna Poblete

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038297

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038297.001.0001

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Limited Leadership

Limited Leadership

Roles of Puerto Rican Labor Agents in the Plantation Community

(p.139) 6. Limited Leadership
Islanders in the Empire

JoAnna Poblete

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the roles played by Puerto Rican labor agents such as Florentin Souza and Alberto E. Minvielle in Hawaiʻi's sugar plantations during the first half of the twentieth century. Like Filipinos, Puerto Ricans also relied on local leaders to translate and convey their issues to plantation managers. Since few Puerto Rican laborers at the Olaʻa plantation understood English, both workers and plantation leaders looked to independent labor mediators to bridge the language barrier between Anglo-American leadership and intra-colonials. This chapter first discusses the roles of the two types of Puerto Rican middlemen in Hawaiʻi, sporadic community ethnic mediators and self-initiated labor agents, before considering how they became important advocates and mediators for intra-colonials and sugar plantation management.

Keywords:   labor agents, Florentin Souza, Alberto E. Minvielle, Hawaiʻi, Puerto Ricans, Puerto Rican laborers, labor mediators, ethnic mediators, intra-colonials, sugar plantation management

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