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Forging Diaspora

Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow

Frank Andre Guridy

Publication Year: 2010

Drawing on archival sources in both countries, Guridy traces four encounters between Afro-Cubans and African Americans. These hidden histories of cultural interaction--of Cuban students attending Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute, the rise of Garveyism, the Havana-Harlem cultural connection during the Harlem Renaissance and Afro-Cubanism movement, and the creation of black travel networks during the Good Neighbor and early Cold War eras--illustrate the significance of cross-national linkages to the ways both Afro-descended populations negotiated the entangled processes of U.S. imperialism and racial discrimination. As a result of these relationships, argues Guridy, Afro-descended peoples in Cuba and the United States came to identify themselves as part of a transcultural African diaspora. Guridy explores the unique relationship between Afro-descended populations in Cuba and the United States, demonstrating that the cross-national relationships nurtured by Afro-Cubans and black Americans helped to shape the political strategies of both groups as they attempted to overcome a shared history of oppression and enslavement. As a result of these relationships, argues Guridy, Afro-descended peoples in Cuba and the United States came to identify themselves as part of a transcultural African diaspora.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Series: Envisioning Cuba


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xiv

This project would not have been possible without the generosity, support, and guidance of countless people who, in substantial and subtle ways, enabled me to survive the intellectual, physical, and emotional challenges that came with the writing of this book. This project initially grew out of my research on...

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Introduction: Making Diaspora in the Shadow of Empire and Jim Crow

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pp. 1-16

In May 1961, the Crisis, the organ of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), published an article by the Afro-Cuban lawyer Juan René Betancourt titled “Castro and the Cuban Negro.” Since the 1940s, Betancourt had been an activist against racial discrimination in Cuba,...

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1 Forging Diaspora in the Midst of Empire: The Tuskegee-Cuba Connection

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pp. 17-60

In November 1901, a group of students arrived at Tuskegee Institute from Cuba with a letter of introduction from Juan Gualberto Gómez, the famous Afro-Cuban patriot. Gómez had exhibited his nationalist credentials during...

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2 Un Dios, Un Fin, Un Destino: Enacting Diaspora in the Garvey Movement

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pp. 61-106

In the summer of 1929, local authorities in Sagua la Grande, Cuba—the same city that sent a disproportionate number of students to Tuskegee Institute—became alarmed upon becoming aware of a troubling “velada” (evening gathering) held on 28 July by Division 55 of the Universal Negro Improvement...

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3 Blues and Son from Harlem to Havana

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pp. 107-150

Readers of the November 1930 issue of Opportunity, the magazine of the National Urban League and the leading review of “New Negro” writers and artists, encountered an article written by Langston Hughes, the famous “Blues Poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. The piece, entitled “A Cuban Sculptor,” was...

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4 Destination without Humiliation: Black Travel within the Routes of Discrimination

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pp. 151-193

Langston Hughes issued the call to “go to the black countries” from the diary of his 1931 trip to Cuba. His entry highlights the desire of many African Americans to travel to see their “own people” abroad. It documents an emerging African American tourism in the early 1930s, one geared toward developing...

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pp. 195-204

In November 1976, a delegation of African American artists and writers arrived at the José Martí International Airport in Havana on a flight from Mexico City. The trip, which was led by Robert Chrisman, editor of the journal Black Scholar, the leading publication of the radicalized black intelligentsia in...


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pp. 205-233


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pp. 235-250


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pp. 251-270

Further Reading

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p. 271

E-ISBN-13: 9781469604060
E-ISBN-10: 146960406X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807833612
Print-ISBN-10: 0807833614

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 14 illus.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Envisioning Cuba
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Louis A. Pérez Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 671655840
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Forging Diaspora

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Relations with Cubans -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Race identity -- History -- 20th century.
  • Blacks -- Race identity -- Cuba -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Blacks -- Cuba -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • African diaspora.
  • United States -- Race relations.
  • Cuba -- Race relations.
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