restricted access 1. Not Blacks, but Citizens: Racial Rhetoric and the 1959 Revolution

Chapters 1 illustrates the major steps and missteps in Cuba's state-sponsored campaign to eliminate racial discrimination that began in March 1959. Using government speeches and articles, editorials, and political cartoons from Cuban newspapers, this chapter finds that the revolution's choice to speak to the unequal situation facing Cubans of color was somewhat surprising given M 26-7's silence about race during the 1950s war against Batista. However, the need to respond to pressure from Afro-Cuban leaders and to unify the nation against U.S. opposition led the new government to break their silence on racial discrimination. In March 1959, Castro announced the national anti-discrimination campaign and initiated what would become the revolution's legacy as an antiracist government. Unfortunately, the revolution fell into the same trap that plagued nineteenth-century patriots-the desire to resolve racial inequalities by moving beyond race to a colorblind society.


Subject Headings

  • Racism -- Cuba.
  • Cuba -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Blacks -- Cuba -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Equality -- Cuba -- History -- 20th century.
  • Cuba -- Politics and government -- 1959-1990.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access