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Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic$
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Melina Pappademos

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834909

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807869178_pappademos

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Africa in the Privileged Black Imaginary

Africa in the Privileged Black Imaginary

(p.125) Chapter Four Africa in the Privileged Black Imaginary
Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic

Melina Pappademos

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses privileged black Cuban leader Juan Gualberto Gomez, journalist Miguel Gualba, and journalist and politician Rafael Serra's nearly unanimous public disdain of “Africa.” Africa's legacy in Cuba, Gomez, Gualba, and Serra asserted, was an obstacle not only to national progress but to black Cubans' socioeconomic status in the nation as well. Long a source of conflict and controversy among sectors of the African-descended population, for republican black activists the island's African legacy seemed to work against rather than help their struggle for public resources. They believed that embracing “savage” Africanist practices was counter to their interests. In fact, republican black activists were generally in tacit if not open agreement with many racialist architects of Cuban nationalism on the need for a modernist intervention among the popular classes. A leadership cadre, they often asserted, would promote among blacks “civilized” behavior and normative values such as self-denial, refinement, civility, and respectability, as well as order, industry, and thrift.

Keywords:   Juan Gualberto Gomez, Miguel Gualba, Rafael Serra, Africa, national progress, black Cubans

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