Cuba's soul is mestizo (half-breed),
and it is from the soul, not the skin, that we derive our definite color.
Someday it will be called "Cuban color." - Nicolas Guillen, 1972
Cubans share a unique historical struggle for racial unity, and whatever progress they've made is not because they're particularly enlightened on these matters, but because they have worked hard at it, not surrendering this ideal to the empires that would inflict a racist ideology on them. Cubans are stubborn that way, and they've learned to throw out whatever doesn't work for them. Not to imply, of course, that they've conquered racism. They've just taken longer steps than their Northern neighbors. Nor do I mean to suggest that Cuba is the racial paradise that some pretend it to be, as we notice that most Cubans "with dollars" are not dark skinned.
This is not an easy topic to approach, but a necessary one if we're to explore the bigger mysteries and the larger truths that Cuban history represents to the modern world.
The extraordinary vigor and captivating originality of
Cuban music is a mulatto creation. Today, the whole world dances to Afro-Cuban
- Fernando Ortíz
Introduction | End of Slavery | The Meaning of Cuban Sugar | After the War of Independence | On the Importance of Oriente Province | Race War of 1912 | Race War Timeline | Race Fear in Cuba | President José Miguel Gómez
A Preliminary Essay by J.S. Thrasher
in The Island of Cuba
by Alexander Humboldt
An excerpt from The Southern Dream of a Caribbean Empire, 1854-1861, by Robert E. May, Louisiana State University Press
"Election and Selection" in the first issue
of Previsión, August 30 1908
by Evaristo Estenoz
In this cartoon from Prevision (March 30, 1910), a fictional character named José Rosario (on horseback) confronts Cuban President Gómez.
José Rosario was created by Julian Valdes Sierra, a black Cuban who fought at the side of Maceo in the Western Invasion. In 1910 Sierra was charged with conspiracy by the Cuban government. A jury in Havana found him not guilty.
Without the black, Cuba would not be Cuba.
- Fernando Ortíz
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