Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Leith Mullings

Committee Members

Don Robotham

Marc Edelman

Constance Sutton

Subject Categories



This dissertation describes and analyzes the evolution of English-speaking Caribbean identity in Cuba. In seeking to explain why Cubans of English-speaking Caribbean descent moved to revitalize their ethnic institutions during the Special Period, it (1) evaluates the characteristics and social position of the English-speaking Caribbean communities prior to the Revolution, (2) explores the impact of the Revolution on individuals and communities, in particular their experience of social mobility and participation in revolutionary struggle, and (3) focuses on their experience during the Special Period in examining the relationship between cultural narratives among black immigrants and their descendants and shifting levels of social inequality.

Using interviews with people of English-speaking Caribbean descent, archival and secondary sources, and participant observation in eastern Cuba, this research investigates how people who lay claim to this identity have negotiated the economic and political terrain of revolutionary Cuba. It argues that, across time, people of English-speaking Caribbean descent have used "civilized blackness" to challenge ideologies of black inferiority that justify racial marginalization and exclusion. In addition, they have responded to social inequality and anti-black discrimination through participating in radical collective struggles for social justice. This research indicates that strategies have been evident in the revitalization of ethnic institutions by people of English-speaking Caribbean descent during the Special Period. It also suggests that black immigrant dreams of "a better life" have been derailed by the rising social inequalities in post-Cold War Cuba.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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