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Religion and Racism in Tampa's Asturiano Community

 
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El Tampeno



Rexistrau: 02 Avi 2003
Mensaxes: 56
Llugar: Tampa

MensaxePublicao: Mie Xut 28, 2004 9:30 pm    Asuntu: Religion and Racism in Tampa's Asturiano Community Responder citando

Read with interest Art's comments on KKK and the immigrants in WV.

Prior to the arrival of the cigar industry in 1890 and the immigrants that followed Tampa was nothing more than a small southern back-water settlement with all the Jim Crow laws that went with it. Strangely enough, the immigrants had a relatively easy time of it...especially the Spaniards for some reason. Even though schools were segregated along racial lines there was no attempt to segregate along the lines of ethnic heritage.

Culturally, the Spaniards were probably the first to assimilate.... Several
prominent Spaniards married daughters of old Tampa Anglo families early in the last century. The only group to suffer under Tampa's segregation laws were Afro-Cubans. Sadly, upon arriving in Tampa in the early 1900's many were faced with a dilemma... they could not attend the same schools as their white Cuban or Spanish friends and they did not want to attend the black schools, feeling culturally different from black Americans. As a result by the time of the Great Depression most Afro-Cubans had left Tampa for New York. During the last 20 years or so many of their children have returned to a different Tampa and have rejuvenated their social club, La Union Marti-Maceo.

As for religion, in a nutshell, most of the Asturianos in Tampa were not very religious, my family included. My grandfather often said one of the main reasons he left Spain was to escape what he saw as repression of the people by the Catholic Church. I'm only sharing my personal observations and do not wish to be insensitive to anyone's spiritual beliefs.

To my hermanos from WV.... What was your experience with the church and spirituality in general within your immigrant community?

In summary, the Spanish community in Tampa was clearly accepted as white, in a legal sense, but there was some cultural prejudice, somewhat analogous to being Irish in Boston during the 1800's, but assimilation was fairly rapid.
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Tony Carreno/Tampa Florida
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Julian Fernandez



Rexistrau: 15 Mar 2009
Mensaxes: 11
Llugar: Dallas, Texas

MensaxePublicao: Xue May 19, 2011 7:31 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

My grandparents emigrated from Asturias and Leon to Tampa between 1903 and 1906. My father told many stories of growing up, "fighting crackers" in Palmetto Beach, then an unincorporated part of Hillsborough County, now part of Tampa. Anti-latin bigotry was a daily reality. I remember a snapshot he had taken as a young man of a sign erected by the City at a public swimming pool. Must have been c.1930. It read, "No Coloreds, No Dogs, No Latins". Granted, the prejudice was aimed equally at the Cuban, Italian and Sicilian immigrant communities that had settled there. And to tell the truth, there was bigotry and enmity even between these marginalized groups.
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4498
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Vie May 20, 2011 10:15 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Thanks for sharing those stories, Julian.

I'm surprised that no one has answered El Tampeno's question about religion among Asturians in WV. I don't know the community well enough. I do know that there was a Catholic Church. Among my grandparents' kids, some became Protestant, some remained Catholic, and some ignored religion all together.

I sense that some were not happy with the Catholic Church and felt animosity toward it. In part, that was because of the Church's support of Franco in the Civil War and afterward, but I've also heard that many Asturians felt abused by priests and nuns back in Asturias.

Some Protestant Churches, especially those that had an emphasis on serving those in need, seemed to earn the immigrants' respect and gratitude. For example, when my grandmother died young, the Methodists brought food to the house. (I don't think anyone in the family was Methodist at that time.) My grandfather evidently appreciated this deeply because after that he gave the church gifts and painted paintings for them.

I'd be interested in hearing other experiences.

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Gracias por compartir esas historias, Julián.

Me sorprende que nadie ha respondido a la pregunta de El Tampeño acerca de la actitud de los asturianos en WV sobre la religión. No conozco la comunidad muy bien. Pero sé que había una iglesia católica. Entre los hijos de mis abuelos, algunos se convirtieron en protestantes, algunos permanecieron católicos y algunos ignoran completamente la religión.

Tengo la impresión de que algunos no estaban contentos con la Iglesia Católica y se sentían animadversión hacia esa Iglesia. En parte, esto fue debido a que la Iglesia apoyó a Franco en la Guerra Civil y después, pero también he oído que muchos asturianos sintieron abusados ​​por sacerdotes y monjas cuando vivían en Asturias.

Me parece que algunas iglesias protestantes, especialmente los que habían un énfasis en servir a los necesitados, ganaron el respeto y la gratitud de los inmigrantes. Por ejemplo, cuando mi abuela murió joven, los metodistas llevaban comida a la casa. (No creo que nadie en la familia era metodista en ese momento.) Mi abuelo evidentemente aprecia profundamente, porque después dio dones a la iglesia y pintó cuadros para los metodistas.

Me interesaría conocer otras experiencias.
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Julian Fernandez



Rexistrau: 15 Mar 2009
Mensaxes: 11
Llugar: Dallas, Texas

MensaxePublicao: Sab May 21, 2011 7:14 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Art,

As I said, my family settled in Tampa(and Denver) so this doesn't really pertain to WV. In my immediate family there was a general attitude of ambivalence toward the Roman Catholic Church. And a good dose of mistrust. We attended mass very infrequently. Baptism was the only sacrament that I or my siblings received until my sisters were married in the Church. I attended a parochial grade school and a Jesuit high school and college (and haven't been to mass since the early '80's). It just didn't play a big role in our lives.

Among my grandparent's generation, there seemed to be more antagonism toward the Church. In the couple of written histories of great aunts and uncles that I have read, the Church seems to have been viewed as being on the other side of a class struggle. They were a sheepherding, subsistence-farming, chestnut-gathering type of folk and their politics seems to have leaned Left(must be hereditary).

The sentiments that I describe predated the Republic, and the Civil war and Franco by forty or fifty years and would seem to jive with what was going on all over Europe. I believe that the role played by the Church in the Civil War and its aftermath cemented the feelings. Several cousins were killed in the War and several in the reprisals.
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Joniwrite1



Rexistrau: 27 Set 2010
Mensaxes: 67
Llugar: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

MensaxePublicao: Mar May 24, 2011 5:45 am    Asuntu: Prejudice and religion in the Spanish communities Responder citando

I'm glad this came up as I'd often wondered about it. My grandparents claimed to be Catholics, although they never went to church. My grandfather raised money and fought against Franco from his home in California. We had quite a large Asturiano community which may have sheltered prejudice that did arise. I always noticed a great deal of favorable interaction between the Mexican and Italian communities in the area.

Today I spoke with my cousin, Mary (Gonzalez) Rossano, who grew up in West Virginia in the 1930's. She stated that she never felt prejudice and that everyone seemed to get along. She added that her father, Manuel "Asturias" Gonzalez, had gone to school in Asturias and talked to her about the beatings he had endured at the hands of Catholic priests. Her family were not Catholics here in America.

My Father's family lived in Cherryville, Ks, East St. Louis, Mo and Pittsburg, CA. They professed to be Catholic, however, they kept their reserved faith for weddings, funerals and the occasional blessing of things, including slot machines which my Wela gave the sign of the cross after each pull of the handle:)

An interesting topic. I look forward to reading more.

Joni
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4498
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Mar May 24, 2011 10:05 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

Yes, it is an interesting topic. Thanks to all!

Joni, what area/town in California had a large concentration of Asturians? What years was that? What kind of work did they do there?

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Sí, es un tema interesante. ¡Gracias a todos!

Joni, ¿cuál zona o ciudad en California tuvo una gran concentración de asturianos? En cuales años ocurrió eso? ¿Qué clase de trabajo hicieron allí?
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Joniwrite1



Rexistrau: 27 Set 2010
Mensaxes: 67
Llugar: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

MensaxePublicao: Mar May 24, 2011 3:02 pm    Asuntu: Pittsburg, CA Responder citando

I'm unclear as to the original numbers, however, Columbia Steel procured a separate train to relocate the workers. By the 1950's families had grown and I remember this huge hall being stuffed full of Asturianos! I would estimate the population at about one thousand. Many of the men worked at the Steel mill. My mother was a secretary for the phone company, her brother, Jamie, was fire chief, and sister Lidia sang with Carmen Dragon's Big Band. Other families had grocery stores, small farms, sold chorizo, had orchards and taverns. My father was in the ice and frozen food business after WWII. His brother ran Hotel/Casinos in Nevada. I worked oceanography and architectural history.

We also had family in Los Angeles. They began as accountants and later had a metal tooling company that supplied parts for aeronautics during WWII.

The community's generations branched in many directions.
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Joniwrite1



Rexistrau: 27 Set 2010
Mensaxes: 67
Llugar: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

MensaxePublicao: Mar May 24, 2011 3:06 pm    Asuntu: Pittsburg, CA Responder citando

Correction, that was WWII.
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Joniwrite1
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4498
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Mar May 24, 2011 11:56 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Was that in Pittsburg, CA, just a little northeast of San Francisco? I think this is the first time anyone on the forum has mentioned Pittsburg! When do you think the big movement to this area occurred?

I edited "WWII" in your previous message. You can edit your own messages by clicking on the "edit" button. That's the best approach because it clears up any potential misunderstandings.

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¿Estaba en Pittsburg, California, un poco al noreste de San Francisco? ¡Creo que esta es la primera vez que alguien del foro ha mencionado Pittsburg! ¿Cuándo crees que el gran movimiento a esta zona se produjeron?

He editado "la Segunda Guerra Mundial" en el mensaje anterior. Puedes editar tus propios mensajes haciendo clic sobre el botón que dice "editar". Así es la mejor solución, ya que aclara cualquier posible malentendido.
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Joniwrite1



Rexistrau: 27 Set 2010
Mensaxes: 67
Llugar: Lake Tahoe, Nevada

MensaxePublicao: Mie May 25, 2011 8:15 pm    Asuntu: Pittsburg, CA Responder citando

Yes Art, Pittsburg, CA is northeast of San Francisco on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

My grandfather was hired by Columbia Steel (later bought by US Steel Co.) in the 1920's. He was familiar with zinc which was used in galvanizing steel.

http://community.discovery.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8251971108/m/4071934299

"In the 1920s, the [Columbia Steel] plant expanded to include the West’s first nail mill, and later, the first hot dip tin mill west of the Mississippi. During the 1930s and 1940s, facilities and equipment were added to help supply major public works projects – the most notable being the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge – and to meet the demand for steel products during World War II."

A number of Asturiano families went by train, staying west of Pittsburg at a hotel in Port Chicago until they found homes. My grandmother told me they were from West Virgina.

I posted this photo on Nov. 26, 2010. It was taken about 1930 and includes many of my grandfather's co-workers and friends. The local historical society has posted it in their newsletter and I will let you know what we find out.:

Centro Hispanico Americano, Pittsburg (note sign on stage behind men)

http://www.asturianus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3816&highlight=

Joni
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4498
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Mie May 25, 2011 10:52 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Ah, that's great info. Thanks, Joni.

I think this is the first we've heard of a California node on the Asturian network, so this is big news! The opening of the Pittsburg, CA, facility was well-after the factories in the East and Midwest where Asturians worked, but otherwise sounds very similar to places like Donora, PA. I've changed our home page to include California.

(Please note that this is NOT Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There was a zinc factory and many Asturians in Donora, PA, which is in the Pittsburgh PA area. Joni is talking about Pittsburg, California.)

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Oh, eso es gran información. Gracias, Joni.

Creo que es la primera vez que hemos oído hablar de un nodo en California en la red asturiana, por lo que ésta es una gran noticia! El comienzo de las instalaciones en Pittsburg, California, fue bien después de las fábricas en el este y medio oeste, donde trabajaron asturianos, pero por lo demás suena muy similar a lugares como Donora, PA. He cambiado nuestra página inicial para que incluye California.

(Ten en cuenta que esto NO es Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Había una fabrica de zinc y muchos asturianos en Donora, PA, lo que está en la zona de Pittsburgh, PA. Joni está hablando de Pittsburg, California.)
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