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Welcome to FairylandQueer Miami before 1940$
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Julio Capó

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635200

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635200.001.0001

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Bahamians and Miami’s Queer Erotic

Bahamians and Miami’s Queer Erotic

Chapter:
(p.60) 2 Bahamians and Miami’s Queer Erotic
Source:
Welcome to Fairyland
Author(s):

Julio Capó Jr.

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635200.003.0003

This chapter explores Bahamian migration to Miami during the first few decades of Miami’s municipal history. Analyses of Bahamian migrant experiences at the border, in Miami, and throughout the archipelago show how gendered migration patterns created “bachelor” societies in Miami’s urban frontiers and female-dominated and homosocial spaces in the then-British colony of the Bahamas. While Miami’s white powerbrokers struggled with inadequate infrastructure, a growing population, and ill-defined local economy, they came to rely on the cheap, experienced labor that male Bahamian migrants offered. The chapter argues that the desirability of the black male body and laborer was constructed alongside a distinct queer erotic and white male gaze. The chapter also introduces the economic challenges Bahamians faced back on the archipelago and how these migration patterns broke down household economies and traditional family models. U.S. immigration officials heavily policed single and unaccompanied Bahamian women at the Miami-Caribbean borders, while the borders proved mostly porous for Bahamian men before 1924. Law enforcement, however, heavily policed Bahamian men once they entered Miami. Criminal records indicate, for instance, that they were disproportionately represented in sodomy and crime against nature charges.

Keywords:   Miami, Bahamas, Sodomy, Immigration and migration, Labor and capitalism, John Singer Sargent, Bachelor societies, Pathologization of black sexuality, Colonialism

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