Photograph of a Migrant Worker
Jamaican men first migrated to Connecticut for seasonal work on tobacco farms during World War II as part of an arrangement between the American and British governments. Most of these workers returned home after the fall harvest season. Later, especially after 1962, when Jamaica became independent from Great Britain and restrictive immigration laws were lifted, many workers chose to stay in Connecticut. Family members and other immigrants from the Caribbean followed, and today Greater Hartford has the third largest West Indian population in the country. Like immigrants throughout Connecticut’s history, they have struggled to make a new home while maintaining ties to their homeland.
In this photograph, taken around 1965, an unidentified worker pauses while caring for young tobacco plants on the L.B. Haas & Company Farm in the Hazardville section of Enfield. The Haas family was involved in the tobacco and cigar business as early as 1838, but the tobacco farm began operations in 1911.