National Geographic : 1975 Jan
of industry, and foreign competition have conquered many of the mills. A few still hum with life, though. In the Providence Pile Fab ric Corporation's plant, Fall River's largest, nearly half the 1,200 employees are Portu guese. Company manuals, newsletters, and safety signs are printed in both English and Portuguese. Employees with supervisory po tential may be sent to English classes. But there are not enough jobs to go around. "There's about 10 percent unemployment here," City Councilor John Medeiros told me. "Some of the settled Portuguese resent the newcomers. They're afraid the immigrants will take their jobs." I talked to one of the 10 percent: Tony Me deiros. Yes, the newcomers, or "greenhorns," are helping to cause the unemployment situa tion, he told me. But a few weeks later I saw Tony again, at Fall River's airport, and he was more cheerful. He had a job as a painter on the big Braga Bridge (named after a Portu guese-American) that spans the Taunton Riv er at the city's edge (page 99). "I was just kidding about greenhorns the other day," he said with a grin. "A bunch of them were standing right beside us, you know. Half my relatives are greenhorns!" I asked Tony what had brought him to the airport, and in his answer sensed something of the adventurous spirit that launched so many Portuguese explorers into the unknown. "Painting that high bridge got me interested in parachute jumping," he said. "This Satur day I jump for the first time. But I thought it would be good to go up in a plane today. I've never been in one before." Fate Dominates Portuguese Song One evening I drove down a lonesome country road a few miles north of New Bed ford. Through the open door of an old farm house I walked into a bit of Portugal-the Fado Restaurant (pages 96-7). A dark-haired woman named Valentina stood in the center of the room, eyes closed, hands clasped passionately. She seemed pos sessed by an inner struggle. A guitarist struck Cooling a temper, Armando Spencer, Cape Verdean soccer coach of the Bristol Sports Club, soothes gesturing team member Manuel Teixeira. "The Portuguese buy shortwave radios so they can hear games from Lisbon," says one aficionado. "All they know is soccer." New England's "Little Portugal"