Afro-Cuban Voices:
On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba

Pedro Pérez Sarduy and Jean Stubbs

Forewords by Manning Marable, James Early, andJohn M. Kirk, Series Editor
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From the forewords: "At a time when Cuba is undergoing immense economic and social changes, race becomes a kind of cultural litmus test for the national identity. . . . This anthology illustrates fully that it is possible to be both revolutionary and black in Cuba."—Manning Marable, Columbia University
 
"The authors of Afro-Cuban Voices, also key actors in the new, unfolding dialogue about race in Cuba, make a seminal contribution through a forthright critique of ‘racial blind spots’ in official history and present-day racial discrimination."—James Early, director of cultural studies and communication, Smithsonian Institution
 
From the series editor: "A courageous attempt to deal head-on with the issue of race in Cuba today. . . . Pérez Sarduy and Stubbs [seek to] put a human face on this debate, and do so well. The book will be received with relief by some and with frustration by others. Controversial it will undoubtedly be, since—as with most things Cuban—strong emotions are a given assumption. It will be an admirable beginning for the series and, it is hoped, will spark a much-needed debate in the United States on many aspects of the ‘Cuban question.’ It is about time."—John M. Kirk
 
Based on the vivid firsthand testimony of prominent Afro-Cubans who live in Cuba, this book of interviews looks at ways that race affects daily life on the island. While celebrating their racial and national identity, the collected voices express an urgent need to end the silences and distortions of history in both pre- and postrevolutionary Cuba. The 14 people interviewed—of different generations and from different geographic areas of Cuba—come from the arts, the media, industry, academia, and medicine. They include a doctor who calls for joint U.S.-Cuban studies on high blood pressure and a craftsman who makes the batá drums used in Yoruba worship ceremonies. All responded to four controversial questions: What is it like to be black in Cuba? How has the revolution made a difference? To what extent is that difference true today? What can be done? Exposing the contradictions of both racial stereotyping and cultural assimilation, their eloquent answers make the case that the issue of race in Cuba, no matter how hard to define, will not be ignored.
 
Pedro Pérez Sarduy is a Cuban poet, writer, and journalist who has worked for Cuban and British media. Jean Stubbs is a British historian and professor of Caribbean studies at the University of North London in England. Both have published on topics related to Cuba and the Caribbean. They are coeditors of AFROCUBA: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture.

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"This book is important because it is the first treatment of racial issues in contemporary Cuba that gives AfroCubans a voice."-- AfroCuba Web
--AfroCuba Web

"This beautiful, poignant collection of snippets of thoughful reflections and conversations by a wide range of Afro-Cubans will go far toward understanding. It deftly cuts through the caricatures, myths, stereotypes, and misconceptions about blacks, not only in Cuba, but also across much of the Americas." -F.W. Knight, Johns Hopkins University
--Choice

"a commendable treatment of a thorny topic. Its clear prose and the frankness of its subjects makes it accessible to both the specialist and anyone interested in the complex nature of social life in present-day Cuba. This impressive introduction holds much promise for future works in this series." - Florida Historical Quarterly
--Florida Historical Quarterly

"An important work for all those interested in contemporary race relations and one I highly recommend."
--Cuban Studies

"Offers a refreshing account of race, nation, and culture in Cuba." "Afro-Cuban Voices will interest scholars in anthropology, literature, ethnic studies, and cultural studies." "For students unfamiliar with Cuban history, this volume is an insightful preamble to more detailed treatments of particular topics."
--Transforming Anthropology

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