A DARK CHAPTER IN LONG ISLAND'S LABOR HISTORY
During World War II, a group of potato farmers opened the first migrant labor camp in Suffolk County, New York, to house farmworkers from Jamaica. Over the next twenty years, more than one hundred camps of various sizes would be built throughout the region. Thousands of migrant workers lured by promises of good wages and decent housing flocked to Eastern Long Island, where they were often cheated out of pay and housed in deadly slum-like conditions. Preyed on by corrupt camp operators and entrapped in a feudal system that left them mired in debt, laborers struggled, and in some case perished, in the shadow of New York's affluence.