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Pennsylvania. The colony is only fifteen years old, and the settlement is to all appearances successful.
Magyar farmers are small in number. Here and there a Magyar farmer is found in a Polish settlement. The small number of this race soon become lost in the general mass of Poles, by which name they are generally known. The Magyars are not engaging in agriculture to any extent east of the Mississippi River.
The greatest number of Portuguese farmers in the East are found in Massachusetts and Rhode Island in a very limited area, the Portuguese headquarters being New Bedford, Massachusetts. The white Portuguese immigration, which comes largely from the Azores, is not large, but compared with the population of the islands is relatively important. The darkskinned Portuguese in agricultural pursuits, or Bravas, are either seasonal agricultural laborers or dock hands. The white Portuguese become farm laborers, general laborers, mill hands and farmers. As farmers and farm laborers the white Portuguese fill an important. place in the agriculture of southeastern New England. The potato growers in Rhode Island are in part tenants and in part owners of the land they operate. They are industrious and energetic. They succeed better than their New England neighbors, chiefly because they have a lower standard of living. They supply practically all the agricultural labor in that region, and by buying or leasing the farms from native owners they have been supplanting the original American farmers.
THE JAPANESE IN THE EAST
East of the Rocky Mountains Japanese farmers are chiefly confined to Texas and Florida, where a very few adult males have taken up pineapple and truck
raising with rather doubtful results. There are some laborers in sugar-beet fields in Wisconsin, and a few in Michigan. The Japanese in Florida are raising pineapples and vegetables, while those in Texas are engaged in capitalistic or specialized agriculture—rice, fruit growing, trucking, nurseries. Most of the Japanese in Texas have invested large amounts of capital in their enterprises, from which they have not yet realized correspondingly large net returns. Some of the Japanese farm proprietors are agricultural students and experts in particular lines of agriculture or related subjects. A number have been business men in Japan. They very soon learn the English language and American methods and many have a knowledge of English before emigrating.
Seasonal Agricultural Laborers
The races more usually engaging in seasonal farm labor are the South Italians, the Poles, the black Portuguese or Bravas, an increasing number of Greeks and Syrians, and, in sugar-beet culture, Belgians, Bohemians, Finns, Poles, Magyars, Japanese and Indians, among whom the first-named are the most prominent. In almost all classes the employees belong to a class of cheap laborers, who engage in unskilled day labor when not working on farms. In berry picking, and to some extent in beet cultivation, the present supply of laborers has been recently installed, having supplanted other foreigners or native Americans. The cranberry pickers of Massachusetts, on the larger bogs, at least, are chiefly "Bravas," or black Portuguese.
They are largely recruited from the ranks of dock laborers and cotton-mill operatives near New Bedford and neighboring sea-coast cities, and unless they are regular bog laborers they spend about six weeks of the year on the bogs. Five-sixths of them are men or boys, many of them single or without families in the United States. They have succeeded in forcing out the Poles, Italians, and, to a large degree, the Finns. The cranberry pickers of central Wisconsin are Indians or Poles. The Indians are often employed at occasional occupations in the rural districts and are well adapted to berry picking. They are transported by the growers from neighboring reservations and bring their families with them to the bogs.
The sugar-beet laborers are chiefly Belgians, but in Wisconsin several races are represented. Nearly all are recruited from neighboring cities, where they make their headquarters. In Wisconsin the Bohemians and Germans frequently bring their families with them; the Belgians and Japanese are single men or men without families in the United States. The beet fields furnish employment from May 1 to July 15, and from about September 25 to November 1. The six weeks' interval takes many back to the cities, but some find employment on farms in the locality.
Farm-hands and Canning-factory Operatives in the United States
The farm laborers in Western New York are of two types: First, South Italians and Syrians, recruited from New York City, Buffalo and other cities
and brought to the locality in family groups by the producers. Many of these remain the entire season, from June to October, at work either in the canning factories or on the farms of the canning companies. Second, South Italians and Poles who may be called settled agricultural laborers. These live near their places of employment in small cities or towns; some own property in the villages, and work almost the entire spring and summer on farms in the neighborhood. They are farm laborers and have practically no other employment.
In western New York, on both the general farms and those owned by canning companies, wages for adult males range from $1.25 to $1.75 per day of ten hours; for women and children, who are employed both on the farms and in the canning factories, the wages on the farm are less, but their earnings at piece wages in the factory practically equal those of the men. When the cost of living is considered, the foreign laborers who have their homes in the locality earn more than their countrymen in cities. The South Italian families of four or five members who work from April to November on farms average from $350 to $450 for the season. The Poles earn about $18 to $20 per month and board the year around when they work as general farm laborers. Piece wages for men and women bring in $1.25 to $1.75 a day during the summer. When weeding, gathering peas, beans, or other vegetables, picking cherries, plums or apples, the women often earn as much as the men. Berries of all kinds are picked by the women and wages depend upon quickness and skill quite as much as upon strength.
With the exception of the Bravas, all the groups of
seasonal labor indicate a tendency to remain permanently in the United States. Many are migratory, but their homes are in America. The Brava has been in the habit of returning to his home in the Cape Verde Islands after a few years of residence here, taking his earnings with him. As a rule, as might be expected, there are fewer citizens among seasonal laborers than among settled farmers of the same occupations.*
* For a discussion of the recent immigrant railroad construction and other temporary work, see Chapter X.