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Black Americans & Cuba News

“Skin color alone is not enough to bind a people together. We need to find cultural ties. We have to find ways to make that happen,” said Dr. Marvin Dunn, who authored “Black Miami in the Twentieth Century.” Understanding Afro-Cubans  2/4/2015 Miami Times

Robert F. Williams
Robert Williams, 1925-1996
Black Lives Matter and Cuba  8/6/2021 Communist Party USA: "Organizing one’s community to demonstrate against the U.S. embargo of Cuba, working with unions and community groups to educate on the embargo and support Cuba, writing one’s representatives and senators, and calling for an end to U.S. imperialist intervention in other countries, and for peace, are some ways to advance this struggle."

Black Lives Matter: a Declaration or an Alliance?  7/30/2021 AfroCubaWeb: by Roberto Zurbano - "I don't think Cubans on the island are aware of the organization’s community origins or of itsintersectional approaches toward racism and capitalism."

On Cuba: our solidarity continues… Cuba: nuestra solidaridad sigue  7/23/2021 Black Lives Matter Facebook: "Black Lives Matter se compromete a escuchar y elevar las voces de nuestra familia afrocubana mientras piden un cambio. Y nos mantenemos firmes en nuestro compromiso con la libertad de los negros en todas partes, una liberación que solo se puede lograr cuando los negros de todo el mundo prosperan, experimentan alegría y están libres de todas las formas de opresión y violencia. BLM se muestra en profunda solidaridad con el pueblo de Cuba y continúa exigiendo el fin del embargo estadounidense, una demanda que ha sido repetida por 39o año consecutivo por 184 países bajo la ONU. También denunciamos las sanciones adicionales impuestas recientemente por la administración Biden."

Black Lives Matter Issues Statement in Support for Cubans  7/20/2021 BNC News: "However, numerous progressives and activists, including associate professor of Latino studies Dr. Danielle Clealand, took to Twitter saying the U.S. and Cuban governments are to blame for the country's problems; targeting the U.S. embargo fails to acknowledge the issues that Black Cubans have faced with systemic racism from the Cuban government for years. Dr. Clealand and Ajamu Baraka, national organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace, joined Marc Lamont Hill on “Black News Tonight” to talk about BLM’s statement."

1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones sparks outrage with unearthed 2019 podcast saying communist Cuba is among the 'least racist' countries in the world because socialism means the 'least inequality'  7/19/2021 Daily Mail: "She said that while not claiming to be an expert on international race relations she thought Cuba to be among the most 'equal' and 'multiracial' country in the western hemisphere due to its socialist society. 'The most equal multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,' she began." [With link to portion of Vox interview on Cuba]

Complicated Situation in Cuba Explained  7/17/2021 Boots Riley, Instagram: "People want hope. The threat from some Miami Cubans to storm the island by boat & cause war is scary to everyone. The spread of false information as well."

1619 Project founder believes Cuba has 'the least inequality' and has brought about the 'end of codified racism'  7/16/2021 The Post Millenial: ""The most equal multi-racial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba. Cuba has the least inequality between black and white people anyplace really in the hemisphere. I mean, the Caribbean, most of the Caribbean it's hard to count because the white population in a lot of those countries is very, very small. A lot of those countries are run by black folks. But in places that are truly at least biracial countries, Cuba actually has the least inequality. And that's largely due to socialism—which I'm sure no one wants to hear," Hannah-Jones continued."

The consequences of years of US embargoes  7/15/2021 BLM: Statement on Cuba - "Black Lives Matter condemns the U.S. federal government’s inhumane treatment of Cubans, and urges it to immediately lift the economic embargo. This cruel and inhumane policy, instituted with the explicit intention of destabilizing the country and undermining Cubans’ right to choose their own government, is at the heart of Cuba’s current crisis. Since 1962, the United States has forced pain and suffering on the people of Cuba by cutting off food, medicine and supplies, costing the tiny island nation an estimated $130 billion."

La madre del BLUES: Una película sobre el racismo en la industria musical  4/21/2021 Afrofeminas: "La madre del blues es una de las películas que cuenta con cinco nominaciones a los premios Óscar 2021. Este filme está inspirado en la vida de Ma Rainey`s, una cantante negra de BLUES, pionera tanto en la música como también en la liberación sexual femenina. La cinta retrata a la perfección la estructura racista predominante dentro de la industria musical en los comienzos de 1920."

Featured interview with Adriana Heredia Sánchez | U.S. cancels private charter flights to Cuba  8/14/2020 Center for Democracy in the Americas: "Beyond Roots is an enterprise focused on promoting Afro-Cuban culture from different perspectives. We work in three main ways: organizing educational experiences where visitors are immersed in Afro-Cuban culture, managing the first and only Afro-style store in Cuba which sells everything from hair care products to accessories to clothing items, and organizing educational events promoting love and respect for Afro-Cuban traditions. We founded Beyond Roots in 2016 in a context marked by the increase in the arrival of tourists to the island, mainly from the United States. We identified that people who came from the U.S. were interested in learning about the culture of the country they visit, as well as achieving a true connection with its people. This motivated us to do something different. We are from a community where Afro-Cuban traditions are deeply rooted, and we decided to show the world the importance of these traditions for us and how they are an indissoluble part of Cuban identity. This is how the idea of starting to offer experiences on Afro-Cuban culture with the support of our community of neighbors arose. What began as the dream of two people, today has become the commitment of 35."

Why There Are No George Floyds in Cuba — August H. Nimtz  6/17/2020 Legal Form: [Written 8 days before the very unusual murder of Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano, this article remains essentially correct. Such acts are very rare.]

The murder of George Floyd impacts the world of culture  6/12/2020 Granma: by Pedro de la Hoz - "In a statement released in Havana, signed by the José Antonio Aponte Commission of UNEAC, the organization of the Cuban artistic and intellectual vanguard, expressed solidarity "with our white, black, Latino, Native American and Asian brothers and sisters, and all other ethnic groups, who are closing ranks against human rights violations and facing ethnic hatred and racial discrimination.”

Nancy Morejón: “Black Prince for George Floyd”  6/9/2020 Repeating Islands: "Although his dream was to throw you into the Mississippi, that cannibal in opaque uniform has silently burned his knee into your inert neck."

Three ideas on the death of George Floyd and the protests in the United States  6/2/2020 On Cuba: "The knee on George Floyd’s neck is not an individual act, it is the weight of a political system in which Afro-Americans, in addition to being poor and discriminated against, first appear as a criminal suspect than as a good citizen to protect."

Street Medics See Cuba As A Model For COVID-19 Response In Vulnerable Communities  5/12/2020 Shadow Proof: "Henderson isn’t alone as a Black doctor in the U.S. reaching out to considering Cuba for help. Historically, many other Black doctors, such as Dr. Melissa Barber, have received free medical training in Cuba and have used that training to help their communities respond to the pandemic. “I’m in solidarity with Armen’s concerns that you have in respect to the situation, but it is a difficult thing,” explained Dr. Marta Galvez Cabrera, a specialist of over 35 years in comprehensive general medicine in Havana, Cuba. “It’s difficult because first of all you have to create basic premises that at this moment do not exist [in the U.S],” she said, adding, “Before the problem is there you have to prevent it.”"

Cuban-trained Doctor Helps Mobilize Pandemic Response in Her South Bronx Community  4/11/2020 Indypendent: "In the South Bronx, Dr. Melissa Barber is putting into practice lessons she learned more than a decade ago from her training as a medical student in Cuba at the Latin American School of Medicine, or ELAM as it’s known by its Spanish initials. For Barber, healthcare doesn’t start with an ambulance ride to the hospital but with community organizing and a deep familiarity with the needs of one’s neighbors. Barber is also the coordinator for the U.S.-Cuba scholarship program that provides free medical school training in Cuba for aspiring doctors who commit to return and serve in their communities. Amid the pandemic, she recently took a break to talk with The Indypendent about how the South Bronx is mobilizing against COVID-19 as well as the Cuban medical system that has inspired her life’s work."

Una Médica Capacitada en Cuba Ayuda a Movilizar la Respuesta Ante la Pandemia en su Comunidad del Sur del Bronx  4/11/2020 Indypendent: "En el sur del Bronx, la Dra. Melissa Barber está poniendo en práctica las lecciones que aprendió de su formación como estudiante de medicina en Cuba en la Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (ELAM) hace más de una década. Para Barber, la atención médica no comienza con un traslado en ambulancia al hospital, sino con la organización comunitaria y una familiaridad profunda con las necesidades de los vecinos. Barber también es el coordinador de un programa de becas estadounidense-cubano que brinda capacitación gratuita en la escuela de medicina en Cuba para los aspirantes a médicos que se comprometen a regresar a los EE. UU. y servir en sus comunidades después de terminar el programa. En medio de la pandemia, se tomó una pausa para hablar con The Indypendent sobre cómo el Sur del Bronx se está movilizando contra COVID-19, así como el sistema médico cubano que ha inspirado su trabajo y su vida."

Whoopi Goes Off on Bernie’s Castro Remarks: ‘There’s Nothing Groovy About a Dictatorship!’  2/26/2020 Daily Beast: "Liberal co-host Joy Behar expressed exasperation over Sanders’ position, claiming he should have also said that Cuba is “an oppressive dictatorship” where the “quality of life is awful.”"

Whoopi Goldberg: Bernie Sanders praising Cuba 'as bad' as Trump's Charlottesville remarks  2/25/2020 Washington Examiner 

African Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution  12/21/2019 Hood Communist: "Fourteen days ago I was in Cuba, one of 160ish people there for the Venceremos Brigade – a solidarity delegation celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The VB was started half a century ago, a first of its kind internationalist mission created by youth living and struggling in the United States who wanted to show their solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. The Brigade has shown up in many sizes and forms over the years but at its core it remains about people to people anti-imperialist solidarity in direct action form. The VB is an act of collective support for Cuba’s right to self-determination and an act of collective defiance against limitations on the free movement of US citizens and the devastating blockade that has stolen billions of dollars from the Cuban economy over the course of generations."

Nikole Hannah-Jones on the 1619 project, choosing schools, and Cuba  12/1/2019 Vox Podcast: "Ezra Klein and Nikole Hannah-Jones discuss America's founding contradiction, racial segregation, capitalism and more."

La Habana y Nueva Orleans firman un acuerdo de cooperación  11/14/2019 Todo Cuba: "Autoridades de las ciudades de La Habana y Nueva Orleans suscribieron este jueves un memorando de entendimiento para cooperar en diversas áreas. El acuerdo ocurre en el marco del 500 aniversario de la capital cubana y a pesar de las deterioradas relaciones entre los gobiernos de Cuba y Estados Unidos. Suscribieron el acuerdo el director de Relaciones Internacionales y Colaboración del Consejo de Administración Provincial de la Habana, Félix Mejías Ruíz, y el director de Relaciones Intergubernamentales de Nueva Orleans, Arthur C. Walton, de visita en Cuba con una delegación del consistorio de la ciudad estadounidense."

[Black] Cuban Revolutionaries  5/1/2019 Souls, UIC: This issue of Souls will be out Spring/Summer - "What has it meant, and does it mean to be a [Black] Cuban revolutionary? We also seek essays which look at how the early revolution handled race, and black revolutionary thought, and what it has done since. In addition, how have revolutionaries taken different positions on this question over time? There are now movements and groups that center the experiences of Afro-descendants whose purpose it is to tackle the racial problem. What have been their goals and how have they measured success? What has been the role of Hip Hop, film, African religions, and educational institutions? How has the US blockade and US aggression impacted this discussion in Cuba; and how do different lenses, such as that from African-Americans, complicate and problematize this question? In addition, what has been the impact of the hundreds of thousands of Cubans that fought in and have worked in Africa on their sense of race? We seek essays, which address these types of questions in ideological, pedagogical, sociological, and political and cultural ways."

Rev. Tom Smith  2/27/2019 Bambose Shango: "Today I received a call from Rev. Tom Smith, who said he was dying, but wanted to call me to thank me for introducing him to Cuba, Lucius Walker, P4P, and Sister Cities where he had the opportunity to meet many of you. He said his participation in all of these organizations had made his life worthwhile, and opened many doors that had enriched his life, that everyone he encountered through the work with solidarity with Cuba, had been ‘a blessing’. Upon reflection of his life, the solidarity work to build a better world was what he treasured the most."

Nehanda Abiodun, 68, Black Revolutionary Who Fled to Cuba, Dies  2/8/2019 NYT: "“I have a commitment to those who have sacrificed their lives for us,” she told Ebony magazine in 2014. “I’m talking about from the time of slavery, the first Africans who were brought here, that gave their lives for us to be free.” Ms. Abiodun was born Laverne Cheri Dalton in Harlem on June 29, 1950, to Wesley and Marge Dalton. Her mother worked for United Airlines, and her father was a bodyguard for Malcolm X for a time. Laverne grew up immersed in the black power movement."

We Have Iré: Afro-Cuban in the United States  12/13/2018 Casita Maria: "Iré - the Lucumi condition of being blessed with positive energy. We Have Iré: Afro-Cuban in the United States, conceived by Cuban-American writer-performer Paul S. Flores and co-produced with Puerto Rican filmmaker and photographer Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi, is an interactive, multi-disciplinary event that highlights the experiences of Afro-Cuban and Cuban-American artists as they seek to define their voices in the United States, finding success through hard work and “iré”."

The Last Black Radical: How Cuba Turned LeRoi Jones Into Amiri Baraka  12/10/2018 Poetry Foundation: "He meets Robert Williams, a former head of the Monroe, North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, a former advocate of nonviolence who changed his pacifist message after the cops violently attacked black citizens in that town. Robert suggested that all black people carry guns from that point on and was exiled for his call to arms. He meets Fidel Castro and hears him speak and asks, “what do you intend to do with this revolution?” “Whatever the people want,” is Fidel’s response, as he explains that he’s not a Communist but a Radical Humanist."

Unearth Hidden Stories from African-American History in Digital Archive  12/4/2018 Urban Faith: "Previously unknown church records for Havana’s black Brotherhood of St. Joseph the Carpenter document the membership of Jose Antonio Aponte, executed by Spanish officials in 1812 for leading an alleged slave conspiracy. Our records similarly document the marriage and death of another famed “conspirator” – the mulatto poet Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes, better known as Placido. Africans and their descendants also left a documentary trail in municipal and provincial archives, including petitions, property registries and disputes, bills of sale, dowries and letters from owners granting slaves their freedom."

La segunda visita de Will Smith a Cuba  11/19/2018 Vistar: "willsmith: Corrí medio maratón en La Habana esta mañana. Gracias Cuba! Me encantó!"

Cuban Art Show Comes to South Bronx Gallery WE HAVE IRE: AFRO-CUBAN IN THE U.S.  11/16/2018 Broadway World: "Casita Maria Center For Arts & Education in partnership with Pregones Theater are proud to present "We Have Ire: Afro-Cuban in the United States." This exhibition and multi-disciplinary theater project will be produced by Cuban-American writer, performer, Doris Duke Artist and San Francisco resident Paul S. Flores, with collaborating Puerto Rican filmmaker and photographer Eli Jacobs-Fantauzzi. "We Have Ire" documents the stories of four Cuban artists, focusing on their influences and dreams."

NJ Black Caucus meeting with Cuban diplomats tarnishes group  9/4/2018 the author: "Jose Arango, a Republican who represented the 33rd District in the N.J. Assembly (1986-88), was the first Hispanic elected to the state's legislature from Hudson County, the county with the largest Hispanic population in New Jersey."

Rihanna and Donald Glover In Cuba: ‘Guava Island’ Is Likely Much Bigger Than a Music Video – Report  8/17/2018 Indiewire: "Director Hiro Murai, "Atlanta" cinematographer Christian Sprenger, and "This Is America" creative director Ibra Ake have been in Cuba prepping most of the summer."

Rihanna filma en La Habana, ¿sobre qué tratará la película?  8/16/2018 Nuevo Herald: "La sesión tuvo como telón de fondo varios rincones de La Habana Vieja y el restaurante La Guarida. En cuanto a Childish Gambino, aprovechó la visita estancia en el país para conocer la Fábrica de Arte Cubano."

Donald Glover And Rihanna Spotted Filming In Cuba  8/16/2018 Vibe: "Entertainment Tonight reports the film is being shot in several locations throughout Havana and is directed by Hiro Murai who directed the video for Glover’s “This Is America.” The Cuban website Visitar also reports Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and British-Nigerian actor Nonso Anozie are also featured in the film."

Childish Gambino visitó la Fábrica de Arte Cubano  8/14/2018 Vistar: "La Habana tiene caminando por sus calles a Donald Glover (Childish Gambino). Pasa desapercibido para muchos por su forma sencilla de vestir y la ola mediática que genera el regreso de Rihanna a la Isla para el rodaje de una especie de película musical."

The Time Fidel Castro Hired Joe Louis as a PR Flack  8/7/2018 OZY: "...a group of prominent African-Americans assembled by former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, who wore a traditional hat called a guajiro for the occasion. Since 1935, two years before he became world champ, Louis had been a partner in Rowe-Louis-Fischer-Lockhart, an all-Black public relations firm in New York City. Castro greatly respected Louis’ athletic skills and his inspirational rise from poverty as the son of an Alabama sharecropper. And that admiration helped the boxer and his firm land a gig to organize the influential Americans toasting the arrival of 1960 with Castro."

5 Tips on visiting Cuba (Yes, even in this Trump era)  7/31/2018 The Griot: "I couldn’t escape my citizenship, but I could subvert it by developing meaningful relationships with other Black people from whom I was supposed to feel isolated by national borders, class hierarchy, a 60-year old political feud, and a language barrier. Somewhere along the way, I got knocked up by a Cuban, and now I spend months at a time in Cuba to co-parent our child. The change in presidential administration has added to the confusion about how to get to Cuba and, for many, has also intensified the desire for respite from American nationalism."

bell hooks: “Lo más importante es lo que digo en mis libros, no quién soy”  7/23/2018 Afrofeminas: "bell hooks es un autora afroestadounidense, profesora, académica y activista social. En su carrera, que abarca cuatro décadas, ha explorado y escrito sobre una variedad de temas, incluidos el racismo, el feminismo, la cultura y la educación. Su trabajo se ha centrado en identificar y desafiar los sistemas de opresión y discriminación que se basan en la raza, el sexo y la clase. Hay un amplio consenso en considerarla como una de las intelectuales y escritoras más importantes de su generación."

Visiting Cuba: My Nigerian-American Perspective, By Bunmi Fatoye-Matory  6/9/2018 Premium Times, Nigeria: "Cuban socialist leaders claim to have slain the monstrous dragon of racism in Cuba, but this is a myth. The reality is that there is a distinction in how resources are distributed between the descendants of Africa and those of Europe. The white ruling elites fled after the revolution, so Castro and his peers had the opportunity to reset the race button. This means black and white Cubans who remained there after the revolution were starting at more or less the same line. As we went around Havana, we found that the leaders of all the institutions we visited were white, even at the Casa Da Africa, a museum devoted to things African. We also heard the familiar negative and racist construction of black people as “lazy”, “not liking education” and other unsavory characteristics that the oppressor white groups heaped on descendants of enslaved Africans in the Americas."

At Havana’s Diaspora Sol Conference, Bridges Built Between Black Americans and Afro-Cubans  6/7/2018 Latino USA: "Last month’s Diaspora Sol conference brought together artists and activists of African descent living in the United States and Cuba to discuss race, racism, empowerment and building solidarity. With panels on activism, natural hair and organizing, as well as three hip-hop concerts featuring Black Cuban and American artists, Diaspora Sol was the first event of its kind in recent years. The conference was also a reflection of the history of solidarity between African-Americans and Afro-Cubans. The African Diaspora Alliance, an organization started by Moriah Ray and Jasmine Hall, two black 25-year-old U.S.-based activists, organized the three-day conference in collaboration with the Cuban-based women’s hip-hop organization Somos Mucho Más, and other groups based out of Cuba and the U.S., like Women of Color in Solidarity."

Why African-American Doctors Are Choosing to Study Medicine in Cuba  6/6/2018 New Yorker: "In the U.S., black and Latino students represent approximately six per cent of medical-school graduates each year. By contrast, nearly half of E.L.A.M.’s American graduates are black, and a third are Latino. “You would never see those numbers” in the U.S., Melissa Barber, another American E.L.A.M. graduate, told me."

Black Artists and Race in the U. S. and Cuba. Reflections after more than a half century of liberation and civil rights  6/1/2018 Scielo: "Contrastes y similitudes en la obra de algunos artistas afro-cubanos y afro-americanos que toman como motivo el tema raza para reflejar las diferencias que se manifiestan en la sociedad a la que pertenece. Artistas negros en ambos países toman la racialidad como tema, con diferente impacto social. En Cuba, las voces de los artistas parecen tener mayor correlación con la imagen política que la que la sociedad tiene de sí misma. Algunos artistas también se sienten cómodos comentando la situación de los Estados Unidos a través de su obra. Los trabajos de los artistas afro-cubanos que critican la sociedad estadounidense y su política parecen ser más favorablemente recibida internacionalmente que las protestas artísticas de los afro-americanos que tratan temas raciales. La visibilidad y volatilidad de las relaciones raciales en los Estados Unidos disminuyen irónica y efectivamente el impacto del arte que critica estas condiciones. Los artistas de la diáspora africana en ambos países utilizan las potencialidades del arte para aumentar la concientización y, en última instancia, realizar cambios sociales progresivos."

Rapper Nitty Scott Premieres Single ‘No Toques Mi Pelo’ at Havana Afro-Diaspora Event  5/17/2018 Latino USA: "For locals, the song did seem to resonate though most of the lyrics were in English and Spanglish. The connection crossed language barriers, pointing to a global shared experience of blackness. Some of the lyrics in the song included the line “not your princesa” (“not your princess”) and other statements that celebrated Afro-Latina womanhood and stood up for black women who have to constantly defend themselves against non-consensual touching of their hair. “She has a wonderful flow, and even though it was in English, you understand a lot,” said Damarys “Hezfi-ba” Benavides, an Afro-Cuban hip-hop artist. “She connected with the crowd a lot, I loved it.”"

In Cuba, There Isn’t a Movement for Black Thought, or Black Pride. It Doesn’t Exist.  2/19/2018 Pulitzer Center: “In Cuba, there isn’t a movement for Black thought. It doesn’t exist,” Alcántara said. He, along with other Cubans of color, acknowledge that the lack of Black pride in Cuba is related to Cuba’s cultural structure of associating Blackness with something that is ugly and undesirable. There is some desire in Cuba, as well as in other parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, to “adelantar la raza” or whiten the race. [Many half truth here, the author needs to perfect her reporting skills and interview more people! "Alcántara" (actually his maternal name and not one you would normally use) works with US paid dissidents and is hardly a major source on Black culture in Cuba.]

We Are Not Hidden: Race in Cuba  2/19/2018 Pulitzer Center: "Castro and the Revolution promoted the concept of la cubanidad, or "one Cuban identity"—thus, essentially erasing Cuba’s rich racial history from the overall narrative. Forty-nine years later, Fidel’s brother, Raúl Castro, performs the inverse of his actions." [This was not an idea of Fidel's, but based on Cuban Republican thinking exemplified by Marti, a hero on both sides of the Florida Straights. This thinking was inherited from the French Republic and is found across Latin America. Fidel did not erase any history, how could he? His approached had a lot of merit and worked pretty well until the special period in the 90's, producing many Black doctors, engineers, scientists and other professionals. He finally admitted it was not working around 2000 at the time of the Malcolm X Conference. Cuban realities are complex and require a great deal of investigation to begin to understand them. This young journalist (photo) needs to hone her reporting skills and interview a broader cross section of people other than those associated with US paid dissidents.]

Oakland group hopes film will aid sainthood effort of Mother Mary Lange  2/19/2018 The Catholic Voice of Oakland: "A Cuban filmmaker, whose mother was educated by the Oblate Sisters of Providence, is researching a film focusing on the Sisters' time in Cuba. The Sisters arrived in 1900, and left in 1961, after Fidel Castro came to power. A group of Bay Area people who don't want to see Mother Lange's legacy lost to history is working to help provide funding for "Sisters of Hope," Gloria Rolando's film project. Rolando spent a month at the convent in Baltimore researching alongside Kathy Knecht, the Sisters' archivist."

African Americans, National Liberation and the Vietnamese Revolution, Reject the Pentagon War Machine  2/2/2018 Global Research: "Robert F. Williams had been the president of the NAACP chapter in Monroe, North Carolina when he advocated and practiced armed self-defense against the Ku Klux Klan. Williams’ refusal to categorically accept the nonviolent approach to civil rights later resulted in his expulsion from the NAACP in 1961. Eventually he was forced to leave North Carolina amid an attempt to frame him on false kidnapping charges of a white couple. After being transported out of North Carolina by supporters, Williams eventually settled in Cuba and later the People’s Republic of China. He spent time as well in North Vietnam addressing radio broadcasts to African American GIs, exposing the racist and imperialist character of the war."

For special month, snapshots of African American Catholic history  2/1/2018 Crux: "In 1829, several women living in Baltimore, all Haitian refugees, took the initiative to educate children at home. The archbishop supported them in their efforts to start the Oblate Sisters of Providence, with the first superior being Elizabeth Lange, born in Cuba of Haitian parents."

One of History's Foremost Anti-Slavery Organizers Is Often Left Out of the Black History Month Story  1/31/2018 Time: "At the end of the Civil War, Henry Garnet expressed his disappointment at what he considered to be premature celebrations of the end of slavery. Rev. Garnet urged abolitionists to retool their anti-slavery organizations to fight slavery’s continuing existence in nations such as Cuba and Brazil. At the height of Reconstruction, Garnet insisted that African Americans tie their struggles for the passage of equal-rights legislation with the Cuban liberation struggle against Spanish rule. In 1872, the popular minister helped to organize the Cuban Anti-Slavery Committee, which formed branches throughout Florida, Louisiana, New York, California and other states. The committee launched a national movement to demand that the United States extend support to the Cuban patriots fighting for independence from the Spanish Empire. At a mass meeting held in Philadelphia in 1877, Rev. Garnet expounded on the theme that the work of slavery abolitionism was incomplete. “If the veteran abolitionists of the United States had not mustered themselves out of service,” he argued, “I believe that there would not now have been a single slave in the Island of Cuba.” Rev. Garnet continued, “We sympathize with the patriot of Cuba not simply because they are Republicans, but because their triumph will be the destruction of slavery in that land.”"

"The Art of Journey" at the Montclair Art Museum, Feb 22  1/26/2018 Ben Jones: "Join us for the showing documentary of “The Art of the Journey: The Ben Jones Story”. New Jersey-born Artist, Activist, Professor Ben Jones has used his art to bring awareness to the plight of people throughout the world, with a strong concentration on the struggles of the people of Cuba."

Dee Dee Bridgewater en Cuba o “esto es absolutamente fantástico”  1/22/2018 D'Cuba Jazz: "Como una de las tantas oportunidades que regala el Jazz Plaza, la tres veces ganadora del Granmy, *Dee Dee Bridgewater*, cantó en La Habana. La artista quien, dicen los que saben, tiene una de las mejores voces de la historia del jazz, trasladó la sala Avellaneda del Teatro Nacional de Cuba hasta el cuadrante sureste de los Estados Unidos, donde nacieron los ritmos que ella representa."

Black Rights and Anti-Racism, From Hampton Roads To Cuba  11/16/2017 New Journal & Guide: "This past October, I was privileged, as a professor, to represent NSU for a groundbreaking post-graduate seminar in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Latin American Council for Social Sciences (CLACSO). Students from 15 Latin American countries and the United States debated the most salient issues of black activism, equal rights and citizenship in the hemisphere. Every Cuban advocate for a public debate on the resurgence of anti-black racism since the crisis-ridden 1990s has heard of Norfolk State. Over a period of six years, more than fifty NSU students have traveled to Cuba for study abroad programs in which these issues were studied in historical and contemporary perspective."

Preocupación de afrodescendientes en Estados Unidos  9/28/2017 Juventud Rebelde: "Casi dos tercios de los afroestadounidenses se declaran preocupados por la presidencia de Donald Trump, según una encuesta que reseñó AFP. Solo un cinco por ciento de los entrevistados dijo que espera que sus decisiones políticas afecten positivamente a la población negra, mientras que el 64 por ciento dijo que el impacto será negativo. El 84 por ciento manifestó que sienten que el país ha tomado una orientación errónea. El sondeo se dio a conocer tras las críticas reiteradas de Trump a los jugadores de fútbol de EE. UU. que se arrodillan durante la ejecución del himno para protestar por la injusticia racial; la mayoría de ellos, negros."

Harlem to Havana: Langston Hughes Helped a Nation Connect to Its African Roots  9/2/2017 NBC: "Perhaps, most importantly, Hughes was in contact with the Latino Jose Antonio Fernandez de Castro, a journalist who “loved Negro Cuba” and aided Hughes’ interactions with Afro-Cuban artists and writers. In 1930, Hughes met the Afro-Cuban Nicolas Guillen who, inspired by Hughes, would go on to write verse that reflected the rhythms of Afro-Cuba and later become known as the island’s National Poet."

Race and Politics: Independent Party of Color in 1900s Cuba  8/24/2017 Blacks in America: "Despite their essential role in the Cuban independence struggles, the Afro Cuban population remained at the lower end of the economic and social structures when Cuba gained its independence from Spain. As a result, Afro Cubans began asking the government to make political positions available in proportion to the Afro Cuban regional and local populations. As requests for stronger political representation continued to be made, Evaristo Estenoz and Gregorio Surin founded the Partido Independiente de Color (The Independent Party of Color) in Havana in 1908."

Black Lives Matter in Cuba  8/21/2017 teleSUR: "Many of these same doctors then went to Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s first free black republic, where today there are several hundred Cuban doctors and specialists providing free health care to 4 million people. After the deadly 2010 earthquake, Cuba health professionals arrived within 72 hours as some of the first responders. The United States, on the other hand, sent thousands of marine soldiers to the island."

Miami beauty queen competing in Washington embraces Afro-Cuban-American identity with natural hair  8/19/2017 ABC: "Miss Black Florida USA is among the Afro-Latinas in South Florida who are joining a natural hair movement. The African-American natural hair movement is rooted in a defiance against a painful racist history and is tangled up in a fight for equal rights. Embracing their natural hair is a transition that goes beyond style choices or fashion trends. Diaz, who is an Afro-Cuban-American beauty queen from Miami's Little Havana, said her choice is about redefining beauty pageants and self awareness."

AmeriCuba: U.S. music made in Cuba  8/5/2017 On Cuba: "AmeriCuba is the record that Havana Maestros presented to the general public. Ten themes that, according to Torres, seek to create an understanding between the music made in the United States and the Cuban rhythms, by combining instrumentalists of the stature of Amadito Valdés (percussion) and Emilio Morales (piano) with very well-known pieces like “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King."

IU students learn dance, culture in Cuba  8/3/2017 Indiannapolis Recorder: "More than 2,000 creatives — from artists and musicians to actors and magicians — take over the streets of Cuba each year during a colorful celebration known as the Festival del Caribe. Last month, a group of 11 Indiana University students, along with faculty members and alumni, traveled over a thousand miles to be among the crowd. These scholars didn’t come as spectators or tourists; they came with the goal of learning new moves and showcasing their skills on a global stage."

Una Habana para Nat King Cole  8/3/2017 Desmemoriados: "La expectación por su inminente llegada a La Habana tenía orígenes diferentes: Martin Fox, dueño del cabaret Tropicana, sabía que haber logrado contratar al cantante más popular en Estados Unidos en ese momento, representaba además de un remarcable esfuerzo económico, un escalón superior en el camino ascendente del cabaret más exitoso entonces en toda Cuba."

Africana Institute Trip to Cuba August 3  7/26/2017 Essex Community College: "A contingent from Essex County College, through a trip sponsored by the College’s Africana Institute, is heading to Cuba for a week-long educational experience. Led by Africana Institute Director Dr. Akil Khalfani and Professor Ladylease White, a total of 15 travelers will embark to Cuba on August 3."

Romanticising Cuba, neglecting Zim, Venezuela  7/21/2017 Herald, Zimbabwe: "Thanks to an article entitled “African American and Cuba’s First Experiment in Tourism: The Joe Louis Commission in Post-Revolutionary Cuba” written by University of California-Riverside historian Ralph Crowder, Africans everywhere had the opportunity to learn that the former heavyweight champion led a delegation of 71 journalists, that were a who’s who of the National Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NNPA), which is the umbrella organisation for so-called African American newspapers."

8 Things To Know About Assata Shakur And The Calls For Her Return From Cuba  6/26/2017 Essence: "Many prominent Black thinkers and leaders have also maintained her innocence. Angela Davis, for example, has said that Shakur is a little threat to the U.S. government: "Assata is not a threat. She is innocent," she has said. "People really don't know the details and are not aware of the extent to which [Shakur] was targeted by the FBI and the COINTEL programme.""

‘We Cannot Remain Silent’: Cuban Women Slam ‘Ignorant’ Trump  6/22/2017 teleSUR: "Recognizing human rights abuses in the United States, Cuban women cited Charleena Lyles, a pregnant Black woman who was killed by two police officers."

Fate of Annual HBCU Cuba Programs Unclear  6/22/2017 Afro: "Wickham told the AFRO that once the federal government rolls out the new regulations he will ensure the trips he leads to Cuba adhere with the new policy. Until then, he said, those trips will continue until the administration tells him his groups cannot go as journalists and/or educators."

Cuban Government: We Will Never Return Assata Shakur to U.S.  6/21/2017 All Black Media: "Gustavo Machin, the deputy director of American affairs at the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Yahoo News that he has no intention of returning Joanne Chesimard, more notably as Assata Shakur, to the United States. “I can say it is off the table,” Machin said."

Trump Demands Cuba Return Assata Shakur  6/17/2017 All Black Media 

Trump Talks Cuba, but All I Heard Was ‘Assata Shakur’ and All I Saw Was a ‘Blacks for Trump’ Sign  6/16/2017 The Root 

Meet Daymé Arocena: Cuba’s Jazz Phenomenon Fusing Salsa, Hip-Hop And Neo-Soul  6/16/2017 Vibe: "Daymé Arocena is a singing drum. Her mouth blooms a litany of ethereal chants, a sacred devotion as impeccable as her white assembles against her molasses skin—traditional garb in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria. She moves in the world the way she moves on any stage: swaying hips and wagging fingers, building a quiet momentum that emerges a thunderclap woman, who carries both Celia Cruz and Aretha Franklin in her heart."

Fears of Black Political Activism in Cuba and Beyond, 1912–2017  6/15/2017 The Weekly Challenger: By Devyn Spence Benson - "When I arrived in Havana on April 6, 2013, a number of people I talked to (all well-educated revolutionaries) immediately compared Zurbano’s public critique to the formation of the PIC in 1908. Incredibly, these Cubans suggested that Zurbano’s article meant that he wanted to start his own black political party! That was not and is still not the case, but repeatedly linking Zurbano to the PIC illustrates how many Cubans still fear that any critique of the revolution by a black Cuban is a radical position that threatens national unity and is thus a cause for alarm."

Norteamericano Ben Jones expondrá en Museo de Bellas Artes de Cuba  6/2/2017 Prensa Latina: "El artista norteamericano de la plástica Ben Jones expondrá obras inéditas en el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba a partir del próximo 21 de julio, anunció hoy esta entidad. De acuerdo con la oficina de Relaciones Públicas de la institución, el creador recién vino a esta capital para preparar su primera exposición personal aquí, prevista para ocupar hasta el 23 de octubre la Sala Transitoria del cuarto nivel del Edificio de Arte Universal."

US Ben Jones to Exhibit at Fine Arts Museum  6/2/2017 Prensa Latina: "U.S plastic artist Ben Jones will exhibit his inedit work at the Fine Arts Museum of Cuba from next Juliy 21, the institution announced. According to its office of Public Relations, the artist has just arrived at this capital to prepare his first personal exhibition here, scheduled to be in site until October 23 in the Transitional Room of the fourth floor of the Universal Art building."

‘AfroRazones’ Compilation Traces the Legacy of Black Resistance From Havana to the Bronx  5/21/2017 Remezcla: "Beyond the high-level quality of AfroRazones, however, is the importance of archiving the methods of collaboration, cultural production, and the discussions that emerged throughout the process of sharing knowledges in recording sessions and workshops. In this sense, AfroRazones offers a model example of representation and cultural exchange, but also of archiving the process of building bridges between Black resistance movements. In that way, we are armed not only, as the project has described, “with the wisdom of our ancestors,” but also with the music industry tools to support Afro-Cuban artists’ continued prosperity in the digital age."

Jimmy's world shines light on Afro-Cuban culture of Matanzas  5/21/2017 Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "Next we walked down Matanzas’ narrow, tatty streets to Jimmy’s neighborhood. He lived in Barrio La Marina, a neighborhood near the Bay of Matanzas. It is a place where butchers walk their pigs through the streets, domino players huddle, neighbors break out in spontaneous dance celebrations and friends gather for community soup, everyone contributes something to the shared pot."

Los mejores momentos del Día Internacional del Jazz en La Habana  5/1/2017 Vistar: "El inicio no pudo ser mejor: descubrir a Will Smith como anfitrión de la noche fue, tal vez, una de las sorpresas más agradables para los cubanos. “El jazz ha sido la voz de la libertad para millones de personas de todas las edades, etnias y credos, porque llega hasta el alma y se conecta con el espíritu de toda la humanidad”, dijo Will Smith en una de sus intervenciones."

Quincy Jones en Cuba por celebración del Día Mundial del Jazz  4/29/2017 Cuba Si: "El legendario músico estadounidense Quincy Jones relató hoy cómo venció los prejuicios en su país sobre las capacidades de las personas negras y cumplió su sueño de componer para el cine."

Artists from Los Angeles collaborate with Cubans for exhibit that will come to Miami  3/29/2017 ABC: "Women's rituals of Vodou and Santeria intrigue Shaina Lynn Simmons. She said black women in New Orleans and Havana have plenty in common. The CalArts Center for New Performance graduate student from New Orleans said she finds the strong cultural resistance during the African diaspora fascinating. The actress is working on "Afro Futuro," a collaboration with Cubans that she described as "a photo, video and live performance installation that explores the mythologies and realities of black women and Afro-Cuban women.""

Cuba Caribe Festival  3/28/2017 SF Chronicle: "The 13th Cuba Caribe Festival of Caribbean dance and music, which runs nine days from Thursday, March 30, to April 7, will include seven world premieres, master classes, film screenings, lectures and celebrations at Brava Theater and Museum of the African Diaspora. The theme of this year’s festival is “Manos De Mujeres,” and it will look at the role of women in our society — a fitting topic. Thursday’s opening-night panel discussion is called “Movers and Shakers: Bay Area Women Making a Difference in the Arts.” "

In memoriam: Professor Mark Sawyer, a champion for access and diversity  3/28/2017 UCLA: "His first book, “Racial Politics in Post-Revolutionary Cuba,” published by Cambridge University Press in 2006, earned critical acclaim and garnered major prizes in his field, including the Ralph J. Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association and the W. E. B. DuBois Award from the National Conference of Black Political Scientists."

Students examine Cuba in Black Studies  3/16/2017 The Pheonix, Swathmore: "On Monday, March 13th, Social Sciences Associate Professor and Department Chair at the State University of New York Empire State College Nadine Fernandez spoke in McCabe Library to community members about race in Cuba. Her speech focused on the history of race among Cuban populations in relation to the family unit and relationships. In the audience were students taking Professor Nina Johnson’s Blacks in Diaspora, the directed reading course of the Black studies department this spring semester. This course also participates in the college’s Experiential Learning Program this semester as it culminates with a trip to the island. The course explores Black identity in Cuba in relation to the migration of Black people and their social movements."

Everybody Wants To Be A Bruja But They Ain’t Really Bout That Life  3/6/2017 Negra with Tumbao: "… there’s a certain amount of accountability and responsibility that comes with being a “witch” and I can assure you that it isn’t always pretty. Typically, witches were the first to be killed when Europeans invaded Africa."

To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination  2/21/2017 Black Agenda Report: "Malcolm X was prominent among a large layer of Black intellectuals and activists including W.E.B. DuBois, LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka), Robert F. Williams, William Worthy and many others who welcomed and defended the Cuban Revolution, which was coming under increasing US attack."

NY event celebrates life of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro  2/20/2017 The Militant: "Hundreds of people packed the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Cultural Center here in Harlem Feb. 4 to celebrate the life and political contributions of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who died Nov. 25."

African Roots of Cuban Culture  2/17/2017 Center for Cuban Studies: "This exciting trip takes you across country where you’ll see much of the lovely island. Starting in the northeast, then traveling south and west across the country to explore how African customs, religion and people have contributed to la cubanía. You’ll meet artists, dancers, musicians, as well as learn about Santería and other religious practices. You’ll learn about the influence of religious iconography, and the significance it plays in the country and how these elements have survived throughout the years. You’ll meet and interact with scholars, artists, researchers, and writers who have dedicated their work to researching Cuba’s African roots and visit landmarks in Afro-Cuban history."

Black soldiers focus of Virginia War Museum display  2/15/2017 Daily Press: "Take the Spanish-American War. The 1898 conflict in Cuba and the Philippines lacked the grand scale of the two world wars that would follow. Still, African-American troops distinguished themselves and deserved a greater share of the praise for one famous battle. A new corner display at the War Museum pays homage to those "Buffalo Soldiers" of the Spanish-American War. Its centerpiece is a rare uniform tunic."

Talking about race: Davidson College professor discusses complexities of ethnic issues in Cuba  2/8/2017 Grand Valley Lanthorn: "Spence Benson said this colorblind, ‘raceless’ attitude was appropriated from the 19th century and had been used to negate individuals’ experiences with racism in the past. “That same ideology has been used to silence black activists when they tried to speak up,” Spence Benson said. “How radical can ‘racelessness’ be if it’s been used to silence Afro-Cubans who spoke up for themselves?”"

Residents of Harlem NY Pay Tribute to Fidel Castro  2/6/2017 PL: "Cuban Permanent Representative at the United Nations Anayansi Rodriguez expressed gratitude here for the tribute paid by New Yorkers to revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in Harlem. ‘The whole work of his life, dedicated to forge that better world we believe is possible, multiplies on you, in your firm solidarity with Cuba, and reaffirms our commitment to being faithful to the legacy of Fidel,’ Rodriguez said at the event, held at the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center."

My Seven Day Itinerary for Cuba  1/28/2017 AfroBuenaventura: "I don't usually plan an entire itinerary for trips. But I did for this trip to Cuba, because frankly, I was afraid of things going wrong."

A Film Series Honors Black Women Directors  1/27/2017 NYT: "Like any good revolutionary, [Sara] Gómez doesn’t mince words: When she discusses patriarchy, she brings out the literal wrecking ball. She isn’t always subtle, but her approach in “One Way or Another” is complex and pleasurably dialectical."

Cuba Failed Me in 5 Ways  1/25/2017 AfroBuenaventura: Fail 4: Afro-Cubans Were Not Hard to Find

Cuba, America, Black Fine Lines, Magic Mind and the Real: The Spiritual Renaissance of Jules Arthur in Cuba  1/7/2017 Huff Post: "As Cuba was my number one destination, I just went on the journey of my dreams. Cuba represents my thirst for historical crossroads that had huge impacts on world history when people set out for new lands. To answer the question “what was I looking for?” Cuba excites every nerve I possess about diving deep into rich roots and culture. There is a notion that states artists have a duty to speak about his or her times."

Links on/Enlaces en la AfroCubaWebtop


African-American Artists and Abstraction
exhibit in Havana, 2014

Black Florida

Black Lives Matter and Cuba

Diasporic Commonalities: Common History and Future of the Afro-Cuban & Afro-American Communities. Riviera Beach, FL, 4/26/14. Organized by Alberto Jones.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé go to Cuba: the exiled plantocracy reacts & Jay-Z raps, 4/13

Assata Shakur, 11/12

Black and Cuba

Special Report: Cuba in Black and White, Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, 2011: a non-profit dedicated to developing Black American journalists reports on Cuba with DeWayne Wickham, Tonyaa J. Weathersbee, and many others.

Goodbye Manning Marable, 4/6/2011 (en español), Gisela Arandia

Acting on Our Conscience Briefing Sheet: roadmap for Diaspora support of Miami-backed dissidents, 1/6/2010

Acting on Our Conscience: a Declaration of African American Support for the Civil Rights Struggle in Cuba, 11/30/09

African Americans and Cuba's First Experiment in Tourism: The Joe Louis Commission in Post Revolutionary Havana, 1959-1960  6/1/2009 Black Past

Nine African American columnists visit Cuba: February, 2000

National Black Chamber of Commerce, Travel to Cuba, position  paper, 2000

"Why Black Cuba Is Suffering," a report from TransAfrica, 7/99

Lisa Brock and Digna Castañeda Fuertes: Between Race and Empire : African-Americans and Cubans Before the Cuban Revolution, 1998

The Cuban Revolution in Transition: Black Reflections on Race, Politics, and Culture in Cuba Today, 11/1/97

The Congressional Black Caucus and Cuba

TransAfrica  increases the dialog between AfroCubans and African Americans




Lisa Brock, Kalamazoo College

Leslie Cunningham, Harlem in Havana

Marvin Dunn

James Early, Smithsonian

Soffiyah Elijah, director of the Correctional Association of New York

Ben Jones, artist

Manning Marable

Cornelius Moore

Nurudafina Pili Abena, musician

Margaret Ross Martin, journalist

Assata Shakur, activist

Askia Toure, poet

Kwame Toure, activist

Tonyaa Weathersbee, journalist

Robert F. Williams


Gisela Arandia, scholar

Digna Castañeda Fuertes

Tomas Fernandez Robaina, scholar

Gloria Rolando, film maker


The Trayvon Martin in US: An American Tragedy, by Emmanuel Harris II (Editor), Antonio D. Tillis (Editor). Includes Afro-Latin perspectives.

Between Race and Empire: African-Americans and Cubans Before the Cuban Revolution
Edited by Lisa Brock and Digna Castañeda Fuertes

Organizations top

Black Lives Matter
Caribbean Cultural Center, NY
Ingathering:The Literary Journal of Arts & Letters from the Black Diaspora in the Americas, Chicago
Centro Martin Luther King, la Habana Kwame Touré Work Study Institute and Library
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies, DeWayne Wickham Percussion Artists Workshop (PAWS), LA
Sociedad Marti-Maceo, Tampa: AfroCubans in Tampa le Ijuba Yoruba, Miami, Inc.
Stage of the Arts, Inc.: Matanzas in LA Organization of Africans in the Americas, Washington, DC
TransAfrica Forum Black Cuba Forum: AfroCubans in Miami, recipient of NED funds
Harlem in Havana Jig Show
The African Diaspora Alliance


The Samaná Americans: African Americans in the Dominican Republic since 1824, 1/13 

Black in Latin America

Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow, Frank Guridy , 2010
To order ==>

Tips for Black Travelers


Contacting AfroCubaWebtop

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