Abstract

Starting in the mid-1880s and becoming fully effective by the 1930s, the “curriculum of culture” that Tampa’s Latin immigrant, cigar-making enclaves experienced circulated in the spaces they and others occupied regularly—the cigar factory, mutual aid society, the coffeehouse, and the theater (also homes and the union hall). These Cuban (and Spanish and Italian) cultural and social values were passed on from one generation to the next within the community, and even to non-Cubans, via reverse assimilation. The outcome was an ethnic American social identity whose impact thoroughly transformed living and working spaces in a segregated, Jim Crow space and fundamentally reshaped its landscape, foodways, and identity. The brand of “Americanism” that Tampa’s Latin community practiced did not typically display the competitive individualism often associated with traditional Americanism, instead emphasizing living as a community and fostering cooperation and affiliations among numerous sociocultural groups.

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