In the late 19th century, a small group of Cubans and Puerto Ricans of African descent settled in the segregated tenements of New York City.
At an immigrant educational society in Greenwich Village, these early Afro-Latino New Yorkers taught themselves to be poets, journalists, and revolutionaries, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
At the same time, these individuals — including Rafael Serra, a cigar maker, writer, and politician; Sotero Figueroa, a typesetter, editor, and publisher; and Gertrudis Heredia, one of the first women of African descent to study midwifery at the University of Havana — built a political network and articulated an ideal of revolutionary nationalism centered on the projects of racial and social justice.
These efforts were critical to the poet and diplomat José Martí’s writings about race and his bid for leadership among Cuban exiles, and to the later struggle to create space for black political participation in the Cuban Republic.
In Racial Migrations, Jesse Hoffnung-Garskof presents a vivid portrait of these largely forgotten migrant revolutionaries.