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A Promising Reality

Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba


Edited By Venessa Ann Brown and Menah Pratt-Clarke

A Promising Reality: Reflections on Race, Gender, and Culture in Cuba is a compilation of the reflections of a group of chief diversity officers, faculty, and educators from the United States about Cuba. As part of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education delegation to Cuba in July, 2015, A Promising Reality represents a collection of voices, experiences, and perspectives about issues of race, gender, cultural identity, and the African experience in Cuba. Key themes explored include Cuban culture, the Cuban Revolution, politics, economics, education, equity, and social change. Utilizing narrative inquiry, some of the reflections are comparative with the United States, and some reflections focus exclusively on Cuba. The book takes readers on a journey of thought-provoking stories that reflect the excitement, uncertainty, complexity, and promising possibilities on the cusp of changing diplomatic, political, economic, and social relationships between the United States and Cuba. A Promising Reality seeks to broaden the perspectives of its readers regarding US-Cuban relations. This book is ideal for courses on international relations, international studies, international affairs, comparative cultures, political science, education, politics, sociology, history, race, gender, and social justice. It is a must-read for anyone traveling to Cuba as part of study-abroad, professional development, or personal adventure.

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2. An Overview of Race, Class, and Culture in Cuba (Venessa Ann Brown / Sarah Walker-Leard)


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2. An Overview of Race, Class, and Culture in Cuba


Editors’ Note: Dr. Venessa Ann Brown is the Associate Chancellor for the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She is a Professor in the Department of Social Work and she received her doctorate from Clark Atlanta University.

Ms. Sarah Walker-Leard has a master’s degree in Art Therapy Counseling at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). She holds a bachelor’s in Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland. She was a graduate assistant for Dr. Venessa Ann Brown in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at SIUE. Sarah’s professional interests include using art to facilitate cross-cultural empathy. She has studied and worked abroad in the Pacific and has a passion for listening to and learning from others.

A Brief History of Relations Between Cuba and the United States

Cuba, an island nation less than 100 miles off of the southeastern coast of the United States, has spent centuries fighting for its sovereignty. Rich in natural resources and economic value, Cuba was coveted land and was taken from the native peoples, the Taino and Siboney, and claimed as a territory of Spain via Christopher Columbus in 1492 (Novas, 2008). It remained under Spanish rule throughout the majority of the 19th century.

Cuban War of Independence

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