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El Lector - He Who Reads

Produced by The Kitchen Sisters, Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva and Laura Folger

  • Listen with RealAudio in 14.4, 28.8, or G2 SureStream.
  • Look at a sampling of Cigar Box Art and a listing of contributors to this very special segment.

    Featuring Readings by Andy Garcia 'Literary Disagreement'
    'Literary Disagreement' by Ferdie Pacheco

    At the turn of the century until the 1930s in the cigar factories of Tampa and Ybor City, a well dressed man in a panama hat with a loud and beautiful voice sat atop a platform and read to the cigar workers as they rolled. These readers, known as Lectores de Tabaqueres, read Cervantes, Zola, Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, Jules Verne... It was the voices and words of these lectores - before radio and mechanization, who informed, organized, and incited the cigar workers, who labored by hand 'til the 1930s, when both the rollers and readers were replaced by mechanization. A lost tradition of story and smoke.
    Lector de Martinez Ybor
    Portrait of Lector 1929
    Joacquita de la Llana,
    Lector de Martinez Ybor

    Courtesy of USF-Tampa Special Collections

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    Copyright 1999 The Kitchen Sisters