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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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Power and Great Culture

Power and Great Culture

(p.148) Chapter Five Power and Great Culture
Black Political Activism and the Cuban Republic

Melina Pappademos

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how black leaders and civic activists advanced the idea that refinement, patriarchy, and bourgeois respectability should be the basis of Cuban leadership, irrespective of a leader's race. Black civic organizations promoted this ideology and enabled black leaders' public performance of the cultural practices that reinforced their political authority. Dr. Miguel Angel Cespedes, a politician and board member of Union Fraternal, one of the largest black civic organizations in Cuba—and brother of Emilio Cespedes Casado—advocated for the use of education to modernize and uplift aspiring blacks. In November 1914, he proposed to use the club's salons to create a “Popular University,” “in the French tradition [of learned institutions] that today are founded in all nations of great culture.”

Keywords:   black leaders, civic activists, bourgeois respectability, Cuban leadership, black civic organizations

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