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Antiracism in CubaThe Unfinished Revolution$
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Devyn Spence Benson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626727

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626727.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Not Blacks, but Citizens

Not Blacks, but Citizens

Racial Rhetoric and the 1959 Revolution

(p.30) 1 Not Blacks, but Citizens
Antiracism in Cuba

Devyn Spence Benson

University of North Carolina Press

Chapters 1 illustrates the major steps and missteps in Cuba’s state-sponsored campaign to eliminate racial discrimination that began in March 1959. Using government speeches and articles, editorials, and political cartoons from Cuban newspapers, this chapter finds that the revolution’s choice to speak to the unequal situation facing Cubans of color was somewhat surprising given M 26-7’s silence about race during the 1950s war against Batista. However, the need to respond to pressure from Afro-Cuban leaders and to unify the nation against U.S. opposition led the new government to break their silence on racial discrimination. In March 1959, Castro announced the national anti-discrimination campaign and initiated what would become the revolution’s legacy as an antiracist government. Unfortunately, the revolution fell into the same trap that plagued nineteenth-century patriots—the desire to resolve racial inequalities by moving beyond race to a colorblind society.

Keywords:   Fulgencio Batista, Racial discrimination, 26th of July Movement (M 26-7), Fidel Castro, Cuban newspapers – Revolución, Political cartoons

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