Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
In May 2006, U.S. president George W. Bush signed a law, effective immediately, proclaiming that June would be nationally recognized as Caribbean American Heritage Month. Such a declaration is as much political as symbolic, indicating the changing political status and spheres of influence of Caribbean Americans in the United States. This entry discusses the emergence of the category Caribbean American, the histories of migration, and social characteristics of the contemporary (post-1965) immigrant population (first generation and beyond). Far from being a geographic descriptor, the term Caribbean American is a recent one, emerging in the late 1990s as a more popular term to characterize immigrant populations from Caribbean commonwealth countries (i.e., those formerly referred to as “West Indian”), which were colonized by Britain from the 17th to the early 20th century: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. As ...