The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality

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The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality Introduction During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the island of Cuba was in the process of emerging from a Spanish colony to an independent nation. Freedom from Spain, however, was not the only struggle that Cuba was experiencing at this time. After having been oppressed by slavery for several centuries, Afro-Cubans, who had joined the fight for independence in large numbers, were demanding equality in Cuban society. Nevertheless, whites, especially in the elite, continued to initiate discriminatory practices against them. As a last resort, Afro-Cubans staged an armed protest in response to the outlawing of their political party in 1912. Although valiant, the attempt was nonetheless a failure because it did not succeed in establishing racial equality in Cuba. Rather, it tragically resulted in the massacre of thousands of Afro-Cuban protesters by Cuban whites. Discussion As was the case throughout the Americas, white racism against blacks and mulattos was deeply rooted in Cuban society. Prejudice and discrimination against Afro-Cubans continued to increase after the abolition of slavery in 1886. Whites, particularly those in the upper classes, viewed blacks and mulattos as belonging to an inferior race that was unworthy of the same rights and privileges that they themselves enjoyed in society. Education, entertainment, and employment were some of the areas in which Afro-Cubans suffered significant discrimination. They were often denied acceptance into private schools, given separate accommodations in theaters and other entertainment establishments, refused service by many restaurants, and were usually unable to obtain employment in professional and skille... ... middle of paper ... ...test as a last resort to bring about its restoration. Nevertheless, it resulted in failure when Afro-Cubans were massacred by the thousands. Conclusion The massacre of 1912 demonstrated that there remained to be seen true racial equality in Cuba. Although the wars of independence had brought about some improvements in race relations, such as the fraternity shared between the races when fighting together against Spain, and the recognition of some Afro-Cubans as outstanding military leaders, the nation’s black and mulatto populations remained for the most part at the lower levels of society. Without politicians who would support their interests, Afro-Cubans would continue to be without equal opportunities in Cuba. Works Cited Helg, Aline. Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1995.
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