Today’s La Vida En Black History Month Moment comes from Cuba and it is not a singular person but a tragedy that needs to be recognized and documented. See the film by Gloria Rolando, Raices De Mi Corazon
El Partido Independiente de Color was the first independent black political party in the hemisphere, founded in Havana on August 7, 1908 by Evaristo Estenoz , Pedro Ivonnet, journalist Gregorio Surín, and a group of followers who were all assassinated in the 1912 Massacre.
After having fought valiantly for Cuban Independence from Spain this group founded a Political Party which was later declared to be “unconstitutional” by the newly formed government because the group was based on race! It was argued that since African born Cubans had been given citizenship and could vote, racial privileges had disappeared and a party based on color was unconstitutional: the Cuban myth of racial equality!
The idea was supported in this by the newspaper, El Triunfo which initiated a strong anti-black line that the Independientes were crazed rapists. Los Independientes were made up of many veterans of the Mambi Army, which was itself 80% to 90% of African descent. The Mambises kicked the Spaniards out of Cuba and forced the plantation owners and aristocracy to ally themselves with the Americans to take back Cuba from the Cubans of African descent. When the Independents challenged them again, they massacred over 6000 people all over the island nation, sadly as US troops stood by and US Navy ships were on hand to provide back up. This story has long been repressed and silenced.
Afro-Cuban filmmaker, Gloria Rolando has created a documentary film Raíces De Mi Corazon to commemorate and remember the Cuban Massacre of 1912.
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