Podcast Episode 9

Episode 9 – July 12, 2021

Nancy Mirabal: Challenging the Narrative of Afro-Cuban Migration

This week Dr. Nancy Mirabal, a scholar of Afro-Latinx and Latinx studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, joins the conversation. In this episode, Dr. Mirabal challenges the perception that Cuban-American history begins with the migrants of the 1959 Cuban Revolution. Her parents immigrated from Cuba for economic opportunities in the early 1950’s, and their experiences with xenophobia and racism in the United States served as a catalyst for her research. Her work highlights how Afro-Cuban identities are not a new phenomena, but a rich, yet understudied, part of U.S. history.

(*This episode includes some explicit language.)

Dr. Nancy Mirabal

Episode Resources


Nancy Raquel Mirabal, Suspect Freedoms: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Cubanidad in New York, 1823-1957. New York: NYU Press, 2017.

Barbara Christian, Black Women Novelist: The Development of a Tradition, 1892-1976, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1980.

Barbara Christian, “The Race for Theory,Cultural Critique. Minneapolis, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. The Nature and Context of Minority Discourse (6) (Spring 1987): 51–63.

Evelio Grillo, Black Cuban, Black American: A Memoir, Houston: Arte Publico Press, 2000.

Aline Helg, Our Rightful Share: the Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Miriam Jiménez Román and Juan Flores, editors, The Afro-Latin@ Reader, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.


Nancy Raquel Mirabal, “‘Ser De Aquí’: Beyond the Cuban Exile Model,” Latino studies 1, no. 3 (2003): 366–382.

Nancy Raquel Mirabal, “Melva Alvarado,” in the Afro-Latin@ Reader, Miriam Jimenez Roman and Juan Flores, editors, The Afro-Latin@ Reader. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010, 120-126.

Historical Figures

Club Julio Mella – James D. Fernandez, “Nueva York (3): Club Julio A. Mella in Harlem,” The Volunteer, March 8, 2011.

Sotero Figueroa – Nicolás Kanellos, “Sotero Figueroa: Writing Afro-Caribbeans into History in the Late Nineteenth Century,” The Latino Nineteenth Century, edited by Rodrigo Lazo and Jesse Alemán, New York, USA: New York University Press, 2016, pp. 323-340.

Henry Highland Garnett – Paul Ortiz, “One of History’s Foremost Anti-Slavery Organizers Is Often Left Out of the Black History Month Story,Time, January 31, 2018.

Martín Morúa Delgado – Lorna V. Williams, “Morúa Delgado and the Cuban Slave Narrative,” MLN Vol. 108, No. 2, Hispanic Issue (Mar., 1993): 302-313.

Rafael Serra – José I. Fusté, “Translating Negroes into Negros: Rafael Serra’s Transamerican Entanglements between Black Cuban Racial and Imperial Subalternity, 1895- 1909,” in Afro-Latinos in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas. Edited by Petra R. Rivera-Rideau, Jennifer A. Jones, and Tianna S. Paschel. New York: Palgrave-McMillan, 2016.

Samuel Scottron and the Cuban Anti-Slavery Society – Nancy Raquel Mirabal, “This Day in History – Dec. 13, 1872: Reconstruction Era Convening to Demand End to Slavery in Cuba,” Zinn Education Project


Center for Puerto Rican Studies – The only academic research institute solely devoted to the interdisciplinary study of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.

Club Cubano Inter-Americano – A Cuban cultural and social club established in 1945 by Cuban residents who saw the need to develop a cultural space for Cubans and Hispanic Americans living in New York.

DC AfroLatino Caucus – Founded in 2016, the mission of this organization is to bring visibility and improve the quality of life to Afro Latin@s in Washington DC. (On Twitter)

Potter’s House Bookstore – a nonprofit cafe, bookstore, and community space in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – A world-leading cultural institution that focuses on African American, African Diaspora and African experiences.

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