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Cuba, anti-racist movement and the Partido Independiente de Color

Aline Helg

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place The Caribbean » Cuba

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics equality, party politics, racism, revolution, slavery

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00428.x


Cuba's Partido Independiente de Color (Independent Party of Color, 1908–12) stands out as the first black political party in the western hemisphere. Formed by Afro-Cuban veterans of Cuba's war of independence to struggle for full racial integration in the republic, it rapidly gained thousands of supporters, threatening the white-dominated two-party political system. As a result, Cuban Congress outlawed the black party in 1910 and, as its members protested to regain legality in 1912, the Cuban army launched the racist massacre of 1912 that left thousands of Afro-Cubans dead and put an end to the party. The Partido Independiente de Color continued a long tradition of anti-racist struggles in Cuba, linked to the rapid development of racial slavery after 1770, in a hemispheric context of rising abolitionism and equal rights. As shown by the 1812 Aponte rebellion and the 1844 Conspiracy of La Escalera, numerous Afro-Cubans then formed associations and planned rebellions against slavery and Spanish colonialism that united the free and the enslaved, mulattos and blacks, the Cuban and the African born. Following the terrible repression of La Escalera, many Afro-Cubans joined Cuba's first independence war initiated by planters in the eastern province of Oriente in 1868. Free blacks and mulattos as well as fugitive slaves rapidly made up the majority of the patriot troops, some of them, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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