Adventures with history and culture in the Sunshine State
"Italian company of mututal aid: The Union. This building erectted in the year 1911." Italians in Ybor city? All this and no comments?
Yes, Italians in Ybor City! Actually, Sicilians. In the late nineteenth century many Sicilians emigrated to the United States. Some found their way to Florida, and then to Ybor City, where they initially found work in the cigar factories. The marble plaque commemorates the original L'Unione Italiana building. Ybor City was quite the multicultural place, with Cubans, Spanish, Sicilians, Afro-Cuban, German, and Jewish settlers. Several of these groups established mutual aid societies, providing health care, burial insurance, and social support for immigrant populations in a new land. For more information about the Italian Club, visit their website, http://www.italian-club.org/.
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