July 4, 2010
Journal Entry of a Subordinate Group Member
My grandfather was a young male Azorean who worked his way to the United States on a whaling ship. For my grandfather, immigration was a family affair. As soon as he saved up enough money, he would send for his family one person at a time. Unlike most American immigrants, the Azoreans were not seeking religious freedom, political liberty or release from incarceration: they were drawn by economic opportunity, and were willing to work hard to achieve it (Santos, n.d.). The cry of gold sent my grandfather to California, when he realized gold did not pay off he and many Portuguese soon put their efforts in the traditional Azorean occupation of farming. The Portuguese began settling in the Sacramento Valley, Mission San Jose, San Leandro, Oakland and Castro Valley. These fertile lowlands were well suited to the type of farming the Azorean knew best, intensive farming.
My grandfather once told me a story about Portuguese who first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands (then the Sandwich Islands) in 1794. He told me that Azoreans jumped ship when the whaling vessels pulled into Honolulu for supplies and repair. By 1870, there were about 400 Portuguese living in the Hawaiian Islands. He said the Hawaiian government needed sugar cane workers, and offered to pay transportation costs for anyone wanting to immigrate from the Madeira and Azorean islands. The people brought their entire families, worked in the sugar cane fields for many months and they got $10 a month for men and $6.50 for women along with lodging, rations and medical care. They also resented the fact that the local Hawaiian population regarded and treated them as underclass laborers. This was a particularly bitter pill for the Portuguese, who took pride in hard work and achievement. A lot of them left the Islands, while those who stayed intermarried with other... [continues]
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