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How to
Use the Activities


Inquiry Question

Historical Context




Table of

Putting It All Together

Ybor City is one of the most distinctive historic districts in the United States. Although, like northern industrial cities, it was the site of late­19th-century immigration, the city took on its own unique character. Through the following activities students will be able to describe that character and identify similarities or differences found in their own community.

Activity 1: Describing Ybor City
Ask students to imagine that they are living in Ybor City in the early 1900s and that they have been asked to encourage other cigar workers to relocate in Ybor City. Have them design a leaflet describing the city during its heyday as a cigar-making center. They are to describe its economic base and physical appearance, explain the benefits to families living in the city, and make an argument as to why people would want to move there. When students' drafts are completed, have them work in groups of four or five to pool their ideas and then have each group produce a sample brochure. Debrief the activity by having students evaluate the evidence used in the most effective brochures. If time permits, consider having the students complete the above activity for their own community.

Activity 2: The Immigrant Experience
Have students use a history textbook to review the "new" immigration that took place from about 1880 to the early 1900s. Have them note that these immigrants were mostly Catholic and Jewish, and came from southern and eastern Europe. Their decision to move to the United States came from both "push" and "pull" factors. Push factors included religious and political persecution and poor economic conditions. Pull factors included opportunities to make a decent living, protection under U.S. laws, and freedom to practice their religions. Have students write short papers in which they describe how the Cuban immigrants fit the pattern of most new immigrants, and how they differed. Have them search the readings for evidence of push and pull factors in Cuban immigration. Hold a general class discussion on how the Cubans of Ybor City fit into the broader theme of large-scale immigration to America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Activity 3: Local Community History
Divide students into three groups and ask each group to research one of the following aspects of their community's history: (1) Was your community founded as a "factory" or "company" town? If so, what industry developed the town, and why was the location of your community chosen? Is the industry still an important part of your community? Why or why not? If your community did not develop as a factory or company town, research when, why, and how it was founded. (2) What role have ethnic groups played in the history of your community? Are there places in the community that reflect these ethnic groups? How? (3) What are some of the recreational and educational facilities available in your community? Are they open to the public or are they patronized by members only? How do these facilities benefit the community? Next, ask a spokesperson from each group to summarize their findings, and then hold a classroom discussion on the similarities and differences between the history of their community and Ybor City.




Comments or Questions

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