Undesirable Aliens: Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in the Comparison of Haitian and British West Indian Immigrant Workers in Cuba, 1912-1939

M. C. McLeod
1998 Journal of Social History  
This article examines the intersection of class, race, and culture in attempting to explain the forced repatriation of as many as 38,000 Haitians from Cuba during the 1930s. Using a variety of primary and secondary sources, it explores the related yet diverging experience of Haitian and British West Indian immigrant workers in Cuba between the 1910s and the 1930s. The study challenges the tendency to analyze the histories of black populations exclusively in terms of race, thus ignoring the
more » ... s ignoring the ethnic and national identities which distinguish different groups within the African diaspora from one another. The article examines the main differences between the two black immigrant populations in Cuba, including their structural characteristics, the social and religious institutions they formed, the diplomatic representation they received, and the perceptions that native Cubans held toward them. Although all Afro-Caribbean immigrants confronted "conjugated oppression" based on race and class, Haitians in particular faced discrimination based on culture and ethnicity, culminating in mass deportation as economic decline coalesced with a rising Cuban nationalism during the 1930s.
doi:10.1353/jsh/31.3.599 fatcat:w6j7wxr6t5frvobp6edua5reue