“Stir it Up”
“Stir it Up”
Jamaican Guestworkers in the Promised Land
This chapter examines the experiences of the Jamaican guestworkers who came to the United States during World War II. These guestworkers were an unusually worldly, educated, and articulate group of farmworkers. Determined to be treated as the equals of whites, they boldly defied growers' expectations that they would be cheap, tractable, and submissive. They responded decisively to affronts to their dignity and violations of their contracts. They were British war workers and volunteers, and for a few months at least they were treated as such by U.S. officials and the liaison officers assigned to enforce the terms of their contracts. Those few months were the pinnacle of the U.S. guestworker programs; it would be downhill from there.
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