Michele Reid-Vazquez is a specialist in the history of the African Diaspora in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Atlantic World in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and of Afro-Latinx history in the twentieth-century United States. Her overarching research adheres to multidisciplinary frameworks drawn from the fields of History, Africana Studies, Latin American Studies and Caribbean Studies, through an analysis of historical and transnational processes that center the perspectives, initiatives, and responses of people of African descent. She engages historical, as well as qualitative methods, to critically interpret and comparatively map multi-directional black experiences during the era of enslavement and the twentieth century.
Black Mobilities in the Age of Revolution: Politics, Migration, and Freedom in the Caribbean, under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press.
The investigation explores the broader Caribbean region, with an emphasis on Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad, and the comparative migration experiences of free people of color and slaves during the revolutionary era (1791-1825). I argue that the identities and struggles of people African descent in the midst of slavery fostered ideological and political links despite their distinct colonial territories of origin.
The Year of the Lash: Free People of Color in Cuba and the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World. Athens, University of Georgia Press, 2011.
This study explored the intersections of race, resistance, and freedom in Cuba in the wake of the 1843 Conspiracy of La Escalera – an alleged collaborative plot among free people of African descent, enslaved men and women, Cuban whites, and British abolitionists to overthrow slavery and Spanish rule on the island. I argued that, confronted by a brutal government repression that eliminated their influential political, economic, and social leadership, free black women and men responded with multiple strategies of negotiation, which included petitions and clandestine networks with African Americans.
Peer Reviewed Articles & Essays
“Blood, Fire, and Freedom: Enslaved Women and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Cuba,” Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories, Janell Hobson, editor, New York: Routledge, 2021.
“Caribbean-Atlantic Discourses of Race, Equality, and Humanity in the Age of Revolution,” Journal of Black Studies, Volume 50, Issue 6 (May 2019), 507- 527.
“Formidable Rebels: Enslaved and Free Women of Color in Cuba’s Conspiracy of La Escalera, 1843-1844,” Breaking the Chains, Making the Nation: The Black Cuban Fight for Freedom and Equality, 1812-1912, Aisha Finch and Fannie Rushing, editors, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019, 158-177.
“Tensions of Race, Gender and Midwifery in Colonial Cuba,” Africans to Colonial Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora, Rachel O’Toole, Sherwin Bryant, and Ben Vinson III, editors. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012, 186-205.
“Empire, Loyalty, and Race: Militiamen of Color in Nineteenth-Century Cuba,” Documenting Latin America: Gender and Race, Empire and Nation, Volume 1, Erin E. O’Connor and Leo J. Garofalo, editors, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010, 498-513.
“The Yoruba in Cuba: Origins, Identities, and Transformations,” The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World, Toyin Falola and Matt Childs, editors. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005, 111-129.
“Protesting Service: Free Black Response to Cuba’s Reestablished Militia of Color, 1854-1865,” Special Issue, “Introducing the “New” African Diasporic Military History in Latin America,” Ben Vinson III and Stewart King, editors, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 5, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 1-22.
Display of research materials at the John Carter Brown Library.