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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Celia Maria Vice
Oral history interview conducted by Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Torres
August 07, 1974
Call number: 1976.001.066
Oral History Interview with Celia Maria Vice
Celia Maria Vice was born in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico in 1913. She arrived in Brooklyn at Pier Nine aboard a steam ship, and resided with her family in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of DUMBO and Vinegar Hill, later moving to the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bedford-Stuyvesant (where she lived at the time of the interview in 1974). Vice worked several factory and office jobs - including a position at a defense plant during World War II - before going into business for herself. She performed services including translating, as well as selling real estate - as the first Puerto Rican woman broker in Brooklyn - and insurance. She also remained extremely active in the community during her lifetime as a member of multiple citywide committees, including the New York City Human Rights Commission. Vice helped found a number of civic and cultural entities including the Puerto Rican Heritage Publishing Company, the Fernando Sierra Vardeci Independent Democratic Club, and el Museo del Barrio (a community museum) and was the first Latina grand marshal of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. She relocated back to Puerto Rico in 1979, establishing the Kiosko Cultural in the Plaza de Las Americas. Celia Maria Vice died in 1993.
In the interview, Celia Vice discusses the social and economic situation for Puerto Ricans - and New Yorkers in general - during the 1920s and 1930s. She touches on work, health and housing conditions, as well as describes the ethnic composition of Downtown Brooklyn and its surrounding waterfront, which was the initial area of settlement for Brooklyn's Puerto Rican community. Vice provides detailed information on the cohesion, self-sustainability, and ultimate socioeconomic progress of Brooklyn's early Puerto Rican migrants; including descriptions of mutual aid, religion, child development, education, work ethic, cultural heritage and community organizing. Interview conducted by Ms. Torres and Ms. Ruiz.
This collection includes recordings and transcripts of oral histories narrated by those in the Puerto Rican community of Brooklyn who arrived between 1917 and 1940. The Long Island Historical Society initiated the Puerto Rican Oral History Project in 1973, conducting over eighty interviews between 1973 and 1975. The oral histories often contain descriptions of immigration, living arrangements, neighborhood ethnicities, discrimination, employment, community development and political leadership. Also included are newspaper clippings, brochures, booklets about Brooklyn's Puerto Rican community, and administrative information on how the project was developed, carried out, and evaluated.
CitationVice, Celia Maria, Oral history interview conducted by Ms. Ruiz and Ms. Torres, August 07, 1974, Puerto Rican Oral History Project records, 1976.001.066; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Vice, Celia Maria
- Emigration and immigration
- Ethnic identity
- Ethnic neighborhoods
- Political clubs
- Politics and government
- Puerto Ricans
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Puerto Rico
Finding AidPuerto Rican Oral History Project records