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Blase Camacho Souza Papers


The Blase Camacho Souza papers are a significant resource for Puerto Rican migration and shed light on the life of plantation laborers in Hawaii in the 1900s and their descendants. The papers span from 1899-2003.

Blase Camacho Souza is a Puerto Rican Hawaiian activist and educator. She is the granddaughter of contract laborers who migrated to Hawaii in 1901 to work in sugar plantations. Ms. Camacho Souza’s grandparents were among the Puerto Ricans who migrated to Hawaii due to harsh economic conditions in the Caribbean island. The United States invasion of Puerto Rico coupled with a devastating hurricane, San Ciriaco in 1899, adversely impacted the island’s economy. Agricultural laborers were especially hard hit. These conditions, along with an American campaign to recruit contract laborers, persuaded workers to leave for countries such as Cuba, Ecuador, Venezuela and to the faraway island of Hawaii.

To access Centro’s finding aid for this collection, visit the Guide to The Blase Camacho Souza Papers.

Items in this audio collection

Marion Kittelson Interview, Tape 1

Marion Ortiz Kittleson-Villanueva is a retired teacher and community leader on the Big Island. In 1984 she served as chairperson of Boricua Hawaiiana, an exhibit that illustrated the history and contribution of Puerto Ricans to Hawaii’s culture. In 1985, Ms. Kettleson-Villanueva along with other Puerto Ricans from the various Hawaiian Islands, made a pilgrimage to Puerto Rico. To honor their…

Puerto Ricans of Hawaii Concert, 1980, Tape 1

Blase Camacho Souza would go on to create the Puerto Rican Heritage Society in 1983 to preserve the cultural heritage and contribution of Hawaiians of Puerto Rican descent. “Boricua Hawayanos” is one of the activities that serve to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the Puerto Rican emigration to Hawaii.

This audiotape contains a recording of a musical performance that took place in 1980…

Puerto Rico, Boricua Hawaiana Arrival at Airport, 1985, Tape 1

In 1985, a group of approximately fifty Puerto Rican-Hawaiians, led by Marion Kittleson-Villanueva, Milagros Hernandez, and Blase Camacho Souza, traveled from Hawaii to Puerto Rico for a multiple-day event commemorating their ancestors’ departure from Puerto Rico in the early 1900s due to harsh economic conditions.

This is an audiotape recording of a ceremony welcoming the group to Puerto…