Much like the history of the Civil War of the United States, the history of the first Cuban Revolution (1868-1898) is controversial as there is still much debate about the origins of the rebellion being related to questions about the institution of slavery. By the time the U.S. military officially entered the war, former Confederate soldiers, pro-slavery enthusiasts, abolitionists, and annexationists, had already begun to fight to wrestle Cuba from Spain. At the end of the war, the black Cuban soldiers of the Liberation Army were celebrating the end of Spanish colonialism with an expectation of equal treatment, though not all white Cubans who fought with them considered black Cubans deserving of citizenship. Consequently, the ideal of Cuban identity was, in fact, purely Eurocentric. With attention to the differing justifications for ending Spanish imperialism, this presentation discusses the possibility of racial unity within Cuban national identity through the consideration of the goals of the insurgency and the definition regeneración racial or racial uplift.
DAWN F. STINCHCOMB is an Associate Professor of Latin American literature in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Purdue University. Specializing in Afro Hispanic literature and culture, her research focuses on the themes of race, gender, sexuality, and racial and cultural identity within the concept of national identity in Latin America.
Her presentation is an excerpt from a chapter of her unpublished monograph (in progress) Urgent Words, Compulsory Silences: Black Activism, the Black Cuban Press, and the Cost of Cuban Citizenship.
Uplifting the Cuban Nation or The Unlikely Alliances during the Cuban Wars of Independence (1868-1898).