This chapter shows that, during the thirty years of struggles for independence from Spain, Cubans were forced to reconsider the relationship between race and the emerging nation. The independence movement advocated the abolition of slavery and embraced Cubans of color. The Spanish, however, represented it as nothing more than a lawless insurgency with the potential to turn Cuba into a black republic, thus evoking old fears of another Haiti. In the interim between the end of the Ten Years' War and the onset of the War of Independence, an idealized portrait of the black insurgent emerged in public discourse. Ada Ferrer argues that this figure, “dreaded emblem of race war and black republic, was neutralized and made an acceptable—and indeed central—component in the struggle for Cuban nationhood. ” Intellectuals and activists of all socioracial backgrounds forged a conception of a raceless Cuban nationality as the ideological foundation of the movement.
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