Racial Migrations opens on a January evening in 1890 in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, where a group Cubans and Puerto Ricans — after days of working in cigar factories, restaurants, or their own homes — gathered together in an apartment to socialize, discuss literature and politics, and eat something comforting. This flat was the home of La Liga, an educational and recreational society dedicated to uplifting Spanish-speaking Caribbean émigrés of color. Though the identifier Afro-Latino was not used at the time, a fascinating array of New Yorkers embodied various points along the Black-Brown-White racial and class spectrum. “In the great swirl of humanity that descended on New York in the late nineteenth century, they were a tiny current,” Hoffnung-Garskof acknowledges, but his book is an invaluable reminder that the Big Apple sits on deep historical foundations of African American and Hispanic intellectual...

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