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Rhythms of RaceCuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960$
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Christina D. Abreu

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469620848

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469620848.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Rhythms of Race

Christina D. Abreu

University of North Carolina Press

This introductory chapter outlines the critical role black and white Cuban musicians played in shaping Cuban ethnic and broader Hispano/a and Latino/a identity in the 1940s and 1950s. During this period, nearly 90,000 black and white Cubans migrated to New York and Florida, two of the most concentrated areas of Cuban settlement. Among the migrants were numerous musicians and entertainers whose stories and perspectives reveal both shared understandings and significant differences in their migration experiences, their participation in the professional entertainment industries, and their construction of white, brown, and black racial identities. The chapter briefly discusses their experiences and uses them as a window into a broader experience of Cuban ethnic identity. It examines how this identity took shape in a “Jim Crow city”—against the backdrop of politics characterized by a constant cycle of reform and revolution, as well as increasingly dominant ideologies and racialized practices of Pan-Americanism.

Keywords:   Cuban musicians, Cuban ethnic identity, Latino ethnic identity, New York, Florida, migration, racial identities, Jim Crow city, Pan-Americanism

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