During the late nineteenth century, a stream of Cubans fled the Spanish colonial regime and established exile communities throughout the United States; most famously in the Tampa Bay area. The foundation of this community was a cross-racial alliance between white and black Cubans who were committed to the twin goals of improving their living situation in the United States and liberating their home island from the Spanish. Cuban Tampa’s culture of cross-racial unity challenged the mainstream racism of both colonial Cuba and the Jim Crow south. However, this unity began to crumble after the American occupation of Cuba following the Spanish-American War of 1898. In 1900, the established political clubs expelled their Afro-Cuban members. The expelled members formed new segregated clubs, but by 1912 they banned political discussion at their meetings to avoid persecution.
My research is uncovering what exactly enabled the reversal of the antiracism which had defined Cuban Tampa prior to 1898, and how the politics of the Cuban Republic and Jim Crow affected that reversal.