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Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923 Cover

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Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923

Frederick Douglass Opie

In the late nineteenth century, many Central American governments and countries sought to fill low-paying jobs and develop their economies by recruiting black American and West Indian laborers. Frederick Opie offers a revisionist interpretation of these workers, who were often depicted as simple victims with little, if any, enduring legacy.

The Guatemalan government sought to build an extensive railroad system in the 1880s, and actively recruited foreign labor. For poor workers of African descent, immigrating to Guatemala was seen as an opportunity to improve their lives and escape from the racism of the Jim Crow U.S. South and the French and British colonial Caribbean.

Using primary and secondary sources as well as ethnographic data, Opie details the struggles of these workers who were ultimately inspired to organize by the ideas of Marcus Garvey. Regularly suffering class- and race-based attacks and persecution, black laborers frequently met such attacks with resistance. Their leverage--being able to shut down the railroad--was crucially important to the revolutionary movements in 1897 and 1920.

Black Labor, White Sugar Cover

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Black Labor, White Sugar

Caribbean Braceros and Their Struggle for Power in the Cuban Sugar Industry

Philip A. Howard

Early in the twentieth century, the Cuban sugarcane industry faced a labor crisis when Cuban and European workers balked at the inhumane conditions they endured in the cane fields. Rather than reforming their practices, sugar companies gained permission from the Cuban government to import thousands of black workers from other Caribbean colonies, primarily Haiti and Jamaica. Black Labor, White Sugar illuminates the story of these immigrants, their exploitation by the sugarcane companies, and the strategies they used to fight back.

Philip A. Howard traces the socioeconomic and political circumstances in Haiti and Jamaica that led men to leave their homelands to cut, load, and haul sugarcane in Cuba. Once there, the field workers, or braceros, were subject to marginalization and even violence from the sugar companies, which used structures of race, ethnicity, color, and class to subjugate these laborers. Howard argues that braceros drew on their cultural identities-from concepts of home and family to spiritual worldviews-to interpret and contest their experiences in Cuba. They also fought against their exploitation in more overt ways. As labor conditions worsened in response to falling sugar prices, the principles of anarcho-syndicalism converged with the Pan-African philosophy of Marcus Garvey to foster the evolution of a protest culture among black Caribbean laborers. By the mid-1920s, this identity encouraged many braceros to participate in strikes that sought to improve wages as well as living and working conditions.

The first full-length exploration of Haitian and Jamaican workers in the Cuban sugarcane industry, Black Labor, White Sugar examines the industry's abuse of thousands of black Caribbean immigrants, and the braceros' answering struggle for power and self-definition.

Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic Cover

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Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic

Melina Pappademos

While it was not until 1871 that slavery in Cuba was finally abolished, African-descended people had high hopes for legal, social, and economic advancement as the republican period started. Pappademos analyzes the racial politics and culture of black civic and political activists during an era fraught with successive political and economic crises.

Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America Cover

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Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America

Jerome C. Branche

Imagine the tension that existed between the emerging nations and governments throughout the Latin American world and the cultural life of former enslaved Africans and their descendants. A world of cultural production, in the form of literature, poetry, art, music, and eventually film, would often simultaneously contravene or cooperate with the newly established order of Latin American nations negotiating independence and a new political and cultural balance. In Black Writing, Culture, and the State in Latin America, Jerome Branche presents the reader with the complex landscape of art and literature among Afro-Hispanic and Latin artists. Branche and his contributors describe individuals such as Juan Francisco Manzano, who wrote an antislavery novel in Cuba during the nineteenth century. The reader finds a thriving Afro-Hispanic theatrical presence throughout Latin America and even across the Atlantic. The role of black women in poetry and literature comes to the forefront in the Caribbean, presenting a powerful reminder of the diversity that defines the region.


All too often, the disciplines of film studies, literary criticism, and art history ignore the opportunity to collaborate in a dialogue. Branche and his contributors present a unified approach, however, suggesting that cultural production should not be viewed narrowly, especially when studying the achievements of the Afro-Latin world.

Blackness in the White Nation Cover

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Blackness in the White Nation

Afro-Uruguay, 1830-2010

George Reid Andrews

Andrews offers a comprehensive history of Afro-Uruguayans from the colonial period to the present. Showing how social and political mobilization is intertwined with candombe, he traces the development of Afro-Uruguayan racial discourse and argues that candombe's evolution as a central part of the nation's culture has not fundamentally helped the cause of racial equality. Incorporating descriptions of his own experiences as a member of a candombe drumming and performance group, Andrews connects the struggles of Afro-Uruguayans to the broader issues of race, culture, gender, and politics throughout Latin America and the African diaspora.

Blue Coat or Powdered Wig Cover

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Blue Coat or Powdered Wig

Free People of Color in Pre-Revolutionary Saint Domingue

Stewart R. King

By the late 1700s, half the free population of Saint Domingue was black. The French Caribbean colony offered a high degree of social, economic, and physical mobility to free people of color. Covering the period 1776-1791, this study offers the most comprehensive portrait to date of Saint Domingue's free black elites on the eve of the colony's transformation into the republic of Haiti.

Stewart R. King identifies two distinctive groups that shared Saint Domingue's free black upper stratum, one consisting of planters and merchants and the other of members of the army and police forces. With the aid of individual and family case studies, King documents how the two groups used different strategies to pursue the common goal of economic and social advancement. Among other aspects, King looks at the rural or urban bases of these groups' networks, their relationships with whites and free blacks of lesser means, and their attitudes toward the acquisition, use, and sale of land, slaves, and other property.

King's main source is the notarial archives of Saint Domingue, whose holdings offer an especially rich glimpse of free black elite life. Because elites were keenly aware of how a bureaucratic paper trail could help cement their status, the archives divulge a wealth of details on personal and public matters.

Blue Coat or Powdered Wig is a vivid portrayal of race relations far from the European centers of colonial power, where the interactions of free blacks and whites were governed as much by practicalities and shared concerns as by the law.

Blurred Borders Cover

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Blurred Borders

Transnational Migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States

Jorge Duany

In this comprehensive comparative study, Jorge Duany explores how migrants to the United States from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico maintain multiple ties to their countries of origin.

Book of Salsa Cover

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Book of Salsa

A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City

César Miguel Rondón

Salsa is one of the most popular types of music listened to and danced to in the United States. Until now, the single comprehensive history of the music--and the industry that grew up around it, including musicians, performances, styles, movements, and production--was available only in Spanish. This lively translation provides for English-reading and music-loving fans the chance to enjoy César Miguel Rond?n's celebrated ###El libro de la salsa#.

Border Medicine Cover

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Border Medicine

A Transcultural History of Mexican American Curanderismo

Brett Hendrickson

Mexican American folk and religious healing, often referred to as curanderismo, has been a vital part of life in the Mexico-U.S. border region for centuries. A hybrid tradition made up primarily of indigenous and Iberian Catholic pharmacopeias, rituals, and notions of the self, curanderismo treats the sick person with a variety of healing modalities including herbal remedies, intercessory prayer, body massage, and energy manipulation. Curanderos, “healers,” embrace a holistic understanding of the patient, including body, soul, and community.
 
Border Medicine examines the ongoing evolution of Mexican American religious healing from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Illuminating the ways in which curanderismo has had an impact not only on the health and culture of the borderlands but also far beyond, the book tracks its expansion from Mexican American communities to Anglo and multiethnic contexts.While many healers treat Mexican and Mexican American clientele, a significant number of curanderos have worked with patients from other ethnic groups as well, especially those involved in North American metaphysical religions like spiritualism, mesmerism, New Thought, New Age, and energy-based alternative medicines. Hendrickson explores this point of contact as an experience of transcultural exchange.
 
Drawing on historical archives, colonial-era medical texts and accounts, early ethnographies of the region, newspaper articles, memoirs, and contemporary healing guidebooks as well as interviews with contemporary healers, Border Medicine demonstrates the notable and ongoing influence of Mexican Americans on cultural and religious practices in the United States, especially in the American West.

Borges, Second Edition Cover

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Borges, Second Edition

The Passion of an Endless Quotation

Lisa Block de Behar

Expanded edition with new chapters and updates to the translation and bibliography.

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