Juan Almeida, a Cuban Revolutionary

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The stylized monochromatic features of Argentinian Ernesto “Che” Guevara have become the face of the Cuban revolution. It’s a face you will find on clothing, murals, lunch boxes, and never more than a mile from any college campus. As a mascot Guevara has become a fashionable and easy way for the world to simplify and often dismiss Cuba’s politics and much of her modern history. It is romantic to imagine Che and Fidel Castro storming down from the mountainside waging a two-man war on capitalism and oppression but it is not the truth. Countless Cubans died and fought for the nation that they have today and premier among them was Juan Almeida Bosque.

Bosque was born in Havana on February 17th, 1927, into a world of poverty and racism. His desire to succeed and improve economic and social plight lead him to study law at the University of Havana where he met fellow classmate Fidel Castro in 1952 and became an active member of what we would come to know as the Cuban Revolution.  A year later Almeida was arrested with Fidel and his brother Raúl  for participating in an assault on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. They were all granted amnesty in 1955 and exiled to Mexico.

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The Raw Ones

Image of Krudas Cubensi courtesy of Hip-Hop Congress.

Image of Krudas Cubensi courtesy of Hip-Hop Congress.

Out of a woman-formed and led artists’ movement in Cuba comes Las Krudas–a rap trio, formed of 3 Cuban women.

Krudas is a derivation of the Spanish word “cruda” meaning crude, raw, unrefined, real; Cubensis is a Latin word for those of native Cuban descent. Cruda is precisely what these women are: they are raw, unrefined, and real. They celebrate and defend diversity, while actively engaging in being not the norm. Las Krudas practices what they preach.

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Haitian Revolution and Latinidad

Toussaint L’Ouverture, Leader of the Haitian Revolution

This is a picture of Toussaint L’Ouverture, he led the only successful slave rebellion during the Haitian Revolution. Though I learned about Toussaint L’Ouverture growing up, the entirety of his contributions to Latino culture, and Haiti’s relationship to Latinidad, was not emphasized until I was older.

Like many other people of color in this country, I was not specifically taught about my cultural history during my K-12 education. Once I reached college, everything I knew about Latino culture and history was gleaned from either social interaction, segments of history class, movies, and my parents. I had to purposefully seek out courses on Latino history to know even the little bit that I know today.

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Black and Cuba Screening at Dominican University

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Friends of Progressive Pupil,

Black and Cuba is coming to Dominican University! Come and watch a free screening of our documentary, followed by a Q&A with director Robin Hayes tomorrow, Thursday on September 18th, at 6:30pm located at 7900 W. Division River Forest IL, 60305.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Black Resistance Screening List: Colors

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Colors is a 1988 police drama directed by Robert Duvall, starring Duvall and a Sean Penn. It tells the story of two Los Angeles police officers working to stop the violence between rival street gangs ‘The Bloods” and “The Crips.”

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Icons: The Rock Steady Crew

The Rock Steady Crew

The Rock Steady Crew

Breakdancing is just one element of hip hop culture that can trace its origins to the low-income areas of the Bronx. It was started by Black and Puerto Rican youth in the 1970s. I was born and raised in Queens, New York during the early 1980s. Though Queens was not an area where hip hop culture dominated, I still have faint memories of my first introduction to hip hop and breakdancing.

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Dominican Hair

Nedra Sandiford Dominican Hair Accompanying Photo (twitter,facebook)

We are constantly being confronted with images of how things are and how things should be. Worldwide, the prevailing image of beauty is no doubt becoming more inclusive. However, it continues to discreetly assert certain traits as more preferable, promoting pale skin and long, straight hair as the definition of beauty. Because of the dominance and prevalence of these images, some women go lengths just to achieve this look, even if it means disguising their roots.

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Las Castas

Image Courtesy of NegroDocumentary.org

Image Courtesy of NegroDocumentary.org

Quadroon is a term used to describe the amount of African ancestry a person has. It stems from the Casta system of colonial Spain in the 17th and 18th centuries in the Americas. The casta (caste) system was used to delineate a person’s racial identity. In Spanish America, it was believed a person’s character was based on their birth, color, race, and ethnic origin. Concomitantly, the castas system was used to determine a person’s place in society and controlled several aspects of their social and economic life (including taxation). Charts, like the one pictured above, were created to illustrate a social hierarchy, with “Peninsulars,” Spanish-born Spaniards, at the top of the social ladder, and “Negroes,” people of pure African decent, at the bottom.

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The Battle for the Bronx

FreshDirectImage

Image Courtesy of FreshDirect

In 2012, the former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, offered millions of dollars in tax subsidies and incentives to FreshDirect so they could build a new headquarters in the South Bronx waterfront. South Bronx Unite (SBU) is a coalition of South Bronx residents and allies that have brought a multitude of legal obstacles to the FreshDirect development. The community organization contends that the new construction will disrupt the growing residential neighborhood that already has a history of environmental and health challenges.

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5 Requirements for White Allies of Feminists of Color

"We ALL Can Do It," by soirart.

“We ALL Can Do It,” by soirart.

I identify as a woman, but I move through the world not only as a woman, but also as a white woman, a woman from a middle-class family, an American woman, an able-bodied woman, and a young woman (I could go on). These identities, many of them granting me daily privileges in society, make my experience as a woman vastly different from the experiences of other women.

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