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Grant number like: HR-50058-04

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Lisandro Perez
Florida International University Board of Trustees (Miami, FL 33199-2516)

Faculty Research Awards
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 8/31/2005

Cuban New Yorkers: Exiles, Revolutionaries, Immigrants, and National Identity, 1823-1958

This project is devoted to the Cuban presence in New York City from the arrival in 1823 of Félix Varela y Morales (arguably the first true Cuban New Yorker) to the end of the Cuban Republic (1958). Two basic related themes underlie the project and provide its focus: 1) the scope, importance, diversity, and evolution of New York's Cuban community, a large, diverse and changing ethnic community about which we know very little; and 2) the role New York played in the creation of a Cuban national identity. Cuban New Yorkers were exposed to what New York offered at the time: a look at the new patterns of modernity. The literature on Cubans in New York has tended to overlook the social, political, and cultural milieu of the exiles and revolutionaries who struggled for Cuban independence, emphasizing instead their activities in relation to the island. This project seeks to view the Cuban presence in its New York context, to treat those Cuban émigrés as New Yorkers, and to explore how that city and that ethnic community shaped the enduring contributions that Cuban New Yorkers made, well into the 20th century, to their homeland's culture and institutions. The project will challenge the widely-held notion that the Cuban presence in the U.S. dates only to the 1959 Revolution by examining a heretofore little known but critical chapter of that presence. The applicant proposes to spend 12 months working exclusively in the archives and collections in New York City, especially the New York Public Library. The project will make a contribution to the history on Cubans, Latinos, and immigrants in the U.S., and add yet another chapter to the long history of New York's preeminence as an international city and as the destination for so many of the world's migrants.