Revolutionary Papers

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Adelante: Blackness and Anti-Racism in Cuba
1. Adelante: “Deeds not Words”
2. Public Voices
3. Debating Cuban Blackness
4. Anti-racism in Adelante

Adelante: Blackness and Anti-Racism in Cuba

Adelante: Blackness and Anti-Racism in Cuba

Presented by

— Jorge Daniel Vásquez
Jorge Daniel Vásquez is a Doctor in Education (La Salle University, Costa Rica) and a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. His current research integrates sociology of race and ethnicity, global and transnational sociology, and critical theory. (more…)


Newspaper and Periodicals Library, Cuban National Library “José Martí,” Havana-Cuba

Julio César Guanche’s Personal Collection, Havana-Cuba

Journal Referenced

Last Updated
This tool is intermittently updated to integrate new information sent to the authors.

12 October 2022

Between 1935 and 1938, the monthly newspaper Adelante functioned as an expression of the anti-racist struggle in Cuba, denouncing the persistence of racial inequality and racism. Adelante debated the problem of Afro-Cubans, and, in the same phase, economic reparation was demanded in response to the political participation of black people in the Cuban nation. This teaching tool focuses on the debate on Cuban Blackness and anti-racism between 1935 and 1938. I have translated excerpts from four public voices published in Adelante: Gustavo Urrutia, Cloris Tejo, Alberto Arredondo, and Arabella Oña, and from editorials “Deeds, not Words” and “The Taboo question.” The former is from the inaugural volume in 1935 while the second is from the first anniversary of Adelante (June 1936).

Image of the masthead for the publication Adelante with the slogan Culture and Social Justice, Equality and Fraternity

Slogans of Adelante: Cultura y Justicia Social, Igualdad y Confraternidad [Culture and Social Justice, Equality and Fraternity]

The transformations in Cuba in the 1930s had significant political and cultural dimensions. The debates on race led to the inclusion in the 1940 Constitution of an article against racial discrimination. In the audio interview for below, recorded for this teaching tool, Cuban historian Julio César Guanche discusses the context in which Adelante magazine emerged, how the debate on race changed after the 1959 Cuban revolution, and the racial problem in Cuba today, especially since the July 2021 protests. Other pieces by Julio César Guanche on racism in contemporary Cuba are available here and here.



    Adelante: “Deeds not Words”

    After the War of Independence from Spain (1895-1898), the Cuban Republic was founded on the anti-racist and anti-colonial ideals that inspired rebellions throughout the nineteenth century. Such ideals constituted the basis for political discourses on a raceless nation. Martí’s sentence in his 1863 speech: “There is no danger of war between the races in Cuba. Man means more than white man, mulatto, or black man. Cuban means more than white man, mulatto, or black man” is often used as a synthesis of Cuban raceless republican ideal.

    However, between 1904 and 1920, newspapers such as Previsión and El Nuevo Criollo addressed the issue of racial inequality and racism. During the 1930s and 1940s, there was an important generation of black journalists, particularly writing in Adelante (1935-1939) and Nuevos Rumbos (1945-1949).

    The Afro-Cuban organization “Sociedad Adelante” published the newspaper Adelante as a vein for progressive thinking in the scenario opened by the overthrow of dictator Gerardo Machado in September 1933. Gerardo Machado, a former General of the Cuban War of Independence, was elected Cuban president for the 1925-1929 period. He became a dictator once he extended his mandate for six years through an illegal reform of the constitution in 1928.  Machado’s regime coexisted closely with American power and the Cuban bourgeoisie. His high levels of repression were aimed to avoid social organizations and protest amid the adverse economic scenario for late 1920s Cuba. The Cuban Revolution of 1933 refers to the set of students and workers movements that installed a new government after his overthrown in September 1933.

    Front page of Adelante (June 1935) with contents of the publication.

    Adelante, Junio 1935 (vol. 1)

    The post-Machado context was an opportunity to challenge racist discourses that will condense in the 1940s Cuban constitution. Other societies were also formed, such as the Society of Afro-Cuban Studies (1936-1944) and the Federation of Black Societies of Cuba, which included all Black organizations in the country.

    Thus, the 1930s was not only crucial for Cuban history because of progressive masses aiming for a revolution but also because of the different cultural, political, and Black movements. Writers such as Lydia Cabrera, Alejandro Carpentier, and Nicolás Guillén were crucial in the cultural scenario. In Adelante, public intellectuals such as Gustavo Urrutia, Cloris Tejo, Arabella Oña Gómez, and Alberto Arredondo pointed to aspects of Cuban history highlighting how Black people worked on building the Cuban nation and national identity. Tejo and Oña-Gómez particularly referred to education and the political dimension of care work. Their work challenged exotism and, though not in all cases, developed on the connections of Black Cubans with their African heritage.

    The editorial of Adelante’s first issue, titled “Hechos, no palabras” (i.e., “Deeds not Words”) in June 1935, points to the historical role of Black people in Cuba in contributing to an equality agenda, but always emphasizing the solidarity among “the oppressed without distinction” to fight for social justice. The struggle for Black Liberation was a struggle for Cuban liberation. Self-awareness of the Black history and culture was critical in this process. Adelante appealed to a basic element of the formation of the Cuban Nation, the interracial alliances against political forces of domination. Throughout five years, the voices in this Afro-Cuban periodical will connect their anti-racist campaign with the endeavors of social forces, which is a class-centered approach. Thus, Adelante contributed to the analytical matrix of racial capitalism in the 1930s, expanding the scope of the political debate, particularly within the left.

    Deeds, not words, have been the motto and guide, slogan and creed, that the Adelante Association has strictly complied with during the brief but fruitful period of its existence. Faithful to this line of conduct and in accordance with the previously outlined program, this publication is born, with no other pretensions than to be the spokesman of the ideological guidelines that the Adelante Association supports, which are, in a broad and general sense, TO FIGHT AGAINST SOCIAL INJUSTICE AND FOR THE COMPLETE SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL EQUALITY OF ALL PEOPLE. This struggle will be initiated by this magazine from the point of view of the black individual, who is the most barbarically oppressed and criminally exploited of all the nuclei of the Cuban population. It is not hidden from us, I hope, and we recognize that only the joint action of all the exploited, of all the oppressed without distinction, can achieve the total equality, social, economic, and political equality that we proclaim. But the experience acquired from the struggles in which the Negro has taken a predominant part, always to be mocked, advises that he should go to this fusion of forces with class consciousness, knowing the role he is going to play in it, raising specific demands and, above all, with full knowledge of the traditional, historical, cultural, numerical, emotional value that he represents, in order for him to be a part of this fusion of forces, so that his performance within the whole may be entirely developed, effective and wise that gives the security of feeling efficient and cooperative; and not the spiritless, incomplete and timid of those who could only be considered mere beneficiaries.
    — Excerpt from “Hechos, no palabras” (Deeds, not words), Adelante, 1935 (vol. 1)

      Public Voices

      Gustavo Urrutia

      Photo of Gustavo Urrutia.

      Picture 2.1. Gustavo Urrutia (signed by Urrutia to Langston Hughes)
      Yale University Libraries, Digital Collection

      Gustavo Urrutia (1881-1958) was an architect and economist. He first worked in accounting in a store. Urrutia created the opinion column and later the weekly page “Ideales de una raza” (Ideals of a Race) from 1928 to 1931 in the newspaper Diario de La Marina. He continued publishing the column “Armonías” after the fall of the Machado’s regime. In his writings, Urrutia covered current events by analyzing racism, colonialism, and inequality in Cuba. Under his direction, “Ideales de una raza” translated articles from the African American journals such as Chicago Defender, Pittsburgh Courier, and Opportunity. He wrote for Adelante, where his “The New Negro” was published in 1937.


      Cloris Tejo

      Cloris Tejo was a lawyer dedicated to advancing racial equality. She attended the Convention of Black Societies in 1938. In Adelante, she wrote “En torno a la convención de Sociedades negras [Regarding the Black Societies Convention],” “Consideraciones sobre el problema racial [Considerations on the racial problem], and Legilasción Social [Social Legislation].


      Photo of Alberto Arredondo.

      Alberto Arredondo Papers, University of Miami Libraries, Digital Collection

      Alberto Arredondo

      Alberto Arredondo (1912-1968) was a journalist and economist. He is the author of “The Negro in Cuba” from 1939 is a fundamental source, though not sufficiently acknowledged, for the analysis of the racial debate in the 1930s. In the 1950s, Arredondo worked with the government of the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and went into exile in 1960 after the 1959 Cuban revolution. On “The Negro in Cuba (1939),” the Afro-Cuban scholar Tomás Fernández Robaina considers it “a forgotten book but very useful to understand the social and cultural struggle of Black people.” In this teaching tool, I refer to Arredondo’s work during the 1930s in Adelante, where he referred to Black people as “the most exploited factor” and debated the idea of nation and nationalism.


      Arabella Oña

      Arabella Oña was a journalist. Her writings emphasized the intellectual production of Black people and the contribution of African Culture to arts and sciences. She is the author of the article “Black Intelligence,” published in Adelante in March 1938 (vol. 34).


        Debating Cuban Blackness

        The Nation

        Article from Adelante.

        Alberto Arredondo, El Negro y la Nacionalidad [The Negro and Nationality], Adelante, March 1936 (vol. 10)

        Article from Adelante.

        [on the left] Angel Pinto. El morbo patriótico del Negro [The patriotic sentiment of the Negro] Adelante.


        Alberto Arredondo’s piece ‘The Negro and the nationality’ was published in Adelante in March 1936. Arredondo represents the position that confronts the thesis of the communists who in those years raised the self-determination of the black people in a ‘black belt’ as a resemblance of communists in the United States. In early 1930 the Cuban Communist Party started to campaign for black self-determination in the island’s Eastern region (i.e., Oriente Province). According to historian Hakim Adi, the Cuban Communist Party, founded in 1925, was initially dominated by European immigrants and reluctant to recruit large black members, especially black workers from Jamaica and Haiti. However, under the influence of the Communist International and the U.S. communist party, in 1929, the Communist Party started to pay much more attention to the recruitment of black members. By the time of the second congress of the party in 1934, the party exercised a public stance against racial discrimination and incorporated the struggle for black workers’ rights. Congress also discussed “the need for greater clarification of the Negro Question as a national rather than ‘racial’ question typified in the slogan for self-determination of the Negros in the Black Belt of Oriente Province.” (“Cuban Workers Strengthen their Organizations,” Negro Worker 4, no. 3, July 1934).

        Article from Adelante.

        Agustín Alarcón, Nación Negra? No! [Black Nation? No!], Adelante, Nov 1936 (vol. 18).

        However, for the authors in Adelante, such as Arredondo, the idea of self-determination was an injustice since “the cause of the Negro is the cause of nationality.” The emphasis on the nation as a community in the territorial, linguistic, religious, racial, and cultural order leads Arredondo to conclude that “the so-called negro problem is the location of its roots, not as something alien to the nation or artificially added to it, but rather as a vital factor, integrating and forging the nation.”  In Adelante, Arredondo wrote, “The Negro, the most exploited factor” (Adelante, April 1936 ) and “The Negro in the Colony” (Adelante, May 1936) and other pieces that were developed in El Negro en Cuba (1939), arguing that there was not possible national integration without the negro but also without addressing how Cuba’s black population was overexploited.

        Other articles about the Nation published in Adelante were authored by Angel C. Pinto (who debated with Arredondo), Agustín Alarcón, and Alberto Arredondo.

        The Negro, then, is not only part of the Nation, but he helped to integrate it in all its factors. When it was necessary to decide that integration, with weapons in hand and a courageous and majority manner, the Negro contributed to shaping the Republic. To pretend now that the blacks "self-determine" in a territorial strip [i.e., the “faja negra” or black belt] seems to us an injustice. And it does not stop being an artificial way to solve a problem that belongs to the Nation and not to a contingent of black-pigmented citizens. Because as we said at the beginning, the cause of the Negro is the cause of nationality. The Negro did not fight for his division but his integration. Nation and Negro in Cuban society cannot be separated. The problems of the former are the problems of the latter. When starvation wages are paid on a plantation, Blacks and whites suffer equally. When laws are denaturalized, outrages are committed, and unpopular acts are carried out, whites and Blacks are confused in the concept of "people." When one speaks of "oppressed nationality" or "nation in precariousness," Black and white symbolize the same unit of exploitation or abuse. Therefore, the first question to be raised in the so-called "black problem" is the location of its roots, not as something alien to the nation artificially added to it, but as a vital factor, integral and forger of that nation.
        — Excerpt from Alberto Arredondo's 'The Negro and the nationality' in Adelante, March 1936 (vol. 10)

        Afro-Cuban Art and Literature

        Adelante was also space for debating the existence of Afro-Cuban art and literature. In August 1935, Urrutia wrote about the influence of Negro Art in Cuba.

        Between 1935 and 1936, Gustavo Urrutia wrote a saga of articles titled “Cuba, Art and the Negro” in which Urrutia responds to the questions of a reader who claims to find nothing genuinely black in the field of art. In response to this concern, Urrutia presents the three sections of the influence of black art in Cuba. First, an “inadvertent influence” in the plastic and pictorial arts, the “welcome influence” in music, and the “counteracting influence” in literature.

        His references to black art question common sense, which feeds white people’s position on black aesthetic expressions. The position of “a white person who steeps flimsy sufficiency seeking promotion to the first place of art” is nothing more than a set of superficial and pre-elaborated judgments about the ignorance of the global production of artistic practices and productions. It is rather about the lack of knowledge in Cuba about the development of literature, sculpture, and painting, in addition to Afro-Cuban music. Urrutia said:

        It seems an intuitive truth that most of our artists do not know that avant-gardism is the godchild of African sculpture. It is true that the most familiar art history texts say nothing about this and that only a few foreign specialists, possessors of the secret, have begun to spread it around the world, much to the chagrin of certain masters who preferred to continue passing as elementary geniuses [...] Why does black art have such an influence on our music, despite its absence from our literature and barely being felt in our painting and sculpture? The answer of first grade, the one that since a white man steepens his flimsy sufficiency seeking promotion to the first place in art, is this: Because the Negro has a marvelous musical talent that predominates over all his aptitudes, that saturates him and expands through the environment he breathes. And all this is true, but it is, moreover, a cliché that does not fully explain the phenomenon. This commonplace [...] creates a preconception favorable to the Negro, as exaggerated as the thousand concerns that are contrary to him in other aspects of his capacity [...] If the great influence in our music were to be measured only by the musical aptitude of the Negro, logically we would have to attribute the nullity of that influence in literature, to lack of capacity in it, and we well know that the black race has a very rich tradition of romantic, religious and warrior character, capable of competing with other ancient civilizations.
        — Excerpt from “Cuba, el arte y el negro” (Cuba, Art and the Negro), Adelante, 1935 (vol. 5 and 6)

        Urrutia’s pieces about Cuban art, initially published in Adelante, are a reference for contemporary art that denounces racism in 21st century Cuba, such as the work of Roberto Diago. In his essay on Diago’s work, art specialist Elvis Fuentes refers to Urrutia among the leading early voices pointing to Cuba’s aversion to African heritage.

        “The rejection of African-based cultural forms has a long history in Cuban national culture. Already in the 1930s, Gustavo E. Urrutia warned about the “inferiority complex” that had led Cuban artists to reject the aesthetic and plastic possibilities of popular sculpture linked to Afro-Cuban religious practices.” (Elvis, Roberto Diago: The Art of Growing Skin). Diago’s work may be seen continuing Urrutia’s critique.

        See also: Roberto Diago: La historia recordada

        Black Families

        In “En torno a la convención de Sociedades negras [Regarding the Black Societies Convention],” Black lawyer Cloris Tejo criticized the Black aristocracy and addressed issues affecting poor Black families when the convention discussed prohibiting minors (younger than 12 years of age) work selling newspapers on the streets. While Tejo was not supporting child labor, she criticized how the Convention considered Black parents abandoning their children without considering the economic conditions of Black families. For Tejo, Black families should be discussed as part of the structural racism and not only as a matter of embarrassing Black people.


        In Cuba, Blacks have to celebrate a Congress, and I believed that this was the desired one. Still, the reality felt in that meeting is enough to demonstrate that, yes, it has been a Congress but not a Congress of general and ample character that embraced the fundamental problem of the Black race, but a Congress for a determined Black social layer. It is not that I want to deny in any way that issues of interest to the Negro were dealt with there, but simply to mean that the moral, economic and social situation of the Negro was not taken into account at all. All this is demonstrated by the agreement to prohibit children under 12 years of age from selling newspapers, a more than absurd measure if one takes into account that despite a motion of an economic nature presented by ADELANTE, (which I confess arrived late, so it was not possible to show it [...]), there was nothing there that remotely glimpsed the idea of thinking about the Negro himself who does not even have the opportunity to be discriminated against. In dealing with this point, the Congress of the National Convention of Cuban Societies, although this was not its desire, did nothing more than committing an unforgivable injustice with the Black parents, supposing that these by abandonment allowed their children to live the life of beggars and street newspaper sellers. How right the Congressmen would be in saying they were to study the causes that determine a mother or father to allow their son to go not to sell newspapers but to expose his life to the dangerous and intricate traffic of Havana's streets [...]. The National Convention of Cuban Societies has taken measures to attack the disease without taking into account the causes that originate it. For that reason, the agreement is inappropriate, which is disdainful of the morals of the Black mothers, who perhaps do not have the good fortune of being close to the men of the Black Aristocracy, more or less well-to-do.
        — Excerpt from Regarding the Black Societies Convention, Adelante, March 1938 (vol. 24)

          Anti-racism in Adelante

          The Taboo question

          In October 1933, the newspaper Diario de la Marina published a manifesto by the Ku Klux Klan Kubano (i.e., Cuban KKK) questioning the narratives of Cuba as an interracial nation. The Cuban KKK argued that “racial mixture weakens the people” and considered segregation and isolation between whites and blacks to be the best interest of the republic.

          Article from Adelante.

          La Cuestión Tabú [The Taboo question], Adelante, June 1936 (vol. 13)

          Two years later, Adelante had become one of the most inquisitive newspapers on the racial situation in Cuba. On its first anniversary, Adelante referred to the Black question and racism in Cuba as “the Taboo question.”  Adelante’s editorial in June 1936 points out how, despite the rhetoric of racial equality, there is discrimination in the labor sector despite Black citizens having professional credentials. This is a form of racialized capitalist control that undermines democracy. Blacks are prevented, with disqualifications, from questioning the new Cuba supposed to emerge during the post-dictatorship context and are labeled racists (black racists) as a form of domination and surveillance. With “the taboo question,” Adelante pointed to the colonial and racist mentality, which had not been overcome in the Republic.

          At the beginning of the Republic, we Blacks were told that we had to prepare ourselves, to study, to be able to reach the plan of equality that the Constitution of the romantic liberals consigns in its somewhat lackluster pages. [...] When that black man who came out of the university classrooms or triumphant in the arts or literature, asks with his head held high, with the right to be Cuban, brother of Martí and Maceo, bread and work, to help with his talent, shoulder to shoulder, the white brother to consolidate the postulates of the Revolution, he is called a racist, or with eternal tricks well known to all, he is denied the most insignificant of the charges. One day the eternally rebellious pen [...] of Ramón Vasconcelos wrote a vibrant pamphlet with the title of this editorial [i.e., the Taboo question] and, not finding space in the newspapers, it had to be distributed clandestinely. It was a cry of protest against the preterition of the mass of colored people in the positions of Cuban politics. The men of color, used by the manipulators of elections in the barrios and assemblies, the cannon fodder at the service of a colonial-minded class of society whose only dream is to slavishly copy the odious customs of the southern Yankees, at the hour of compensations are displaced by the improvised, the gilded kindred, the intimate or complacent club comrades. In the early days of the fall of the Machado regime, a discriminatory campaign was launched, which fortunately failed, by an organization known to all. […] With the exception of secretaries of the office, the men of color of greater competence and roots went to positions that they carried out with singular mastery. […] Teachers, professors, simple employees were displaced under puerile pretexts. And the wave is growing to the point that for nobody in Cuba, it has been a secret that most of the men representing our race have been under surveillance these last months under the accusation of being racists. But more than anything else, it has been a new campaign to wrest from them the few places that in some sectors of Cuban public life remain in the hands of blacks. Democracy is in crisis. The taboo question, that is to say, the problem of the Negro, prevents the natural development of the Montecristi program [i.e., of the political ideology of Cuban anti-colonialism]. Martí's fear confessed in the letter to Mercado is being fulfilled in such a way that foreign power not only strangles democracy in our country but also makes the life of the Negro impossible in the land where he was born.
          — Excerpt of The Taboo question, Adelante, June 1936 (vol. 13)

          The New Negro

          El Nuevo Negro was first delivered in a radio program in 1933, broadcast on the Universidad del Aire, under the title “Puntos de vista del nuevo negro. Urrutia wrote the original piece in the revolutionary atmosphere of 1933 that followed the overthrow of the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado. In 1937, the New Negro was published in Adelante. An extended version was published that same year by the Instituto Nacional de Previsión y Reformas Sociales.

          The excerpt translated for this teaching tool includes Urrutia’s critique of “demo-liberal” (i.e., liberal democracy) approaches that do not question the economic-political system’s colonial foundations that permit racial oppression and the oppression of the entire Cuban proletariat. Urrutia sees revolutionary conditions, shared by white and Black people, as a stage for Afro-Cubans to transcend the matrix of prejudice created through “the pressure of slavery.” Furthermore, Urrutia rejects the possibility of black racism. “Black racism” was a term used to attack blacks who denounced racism in Cuba, accusing them of going against the racial harmony that accompanied the history of the Republic. Urrutia emphasizes not only the leading role of Black people for the Cuban nation but in the entire production of humanity. There is no reason, nor argumentative possibility, that justifies attributing to Afro-Cubans the condition of being racists for claiming justice. Finally, critical of liberalism, Urrutia pointed to the formation of socialism at the national and international levels.


          The New Negro is the Afro-Cuban -male or female, young or old- who has become convinced that our current demo-liberalism is inept at correcting by its own virtue the economic-social subordination and underestimation of the people of color, bequeathed to us by our history as a slave colony; ineffective, as is this regime, to overcome the dramatic disadvantage in which the Cuban proletariat and middle class live, to whose plans the race of color belongs globally. The New Negro is the one who has freed himself from the inferiority complex imposed on him by the pressure of slavery; for although he does not persist in asking for social and economic equality on account of his enormous historical contribution in work and patriotism to the formation of Cuba and the Republic, on the other hand, he has acquired such a thorough knowledge of that honorable contribution, as to feel fully worthy of such equity in the past, in the present and in the great work that the future holds in store for all progressive Cubans. Knowledge not only of what he himself has meant and means for his Cuban homeland, but also of what the Black African represents in the historical progress of the West and, since the Great War, what it means in the international balance, world peace and, therefore, in the survival of Western civilization, as we will see in the course of this reading. The New Negro is the one who does not abide by the various definitions of the Black man given by white lovers or enemies of the Black man, but begins by defining himself and by having his own definition of others, like all rational and cultured beings. The New Negro of Cuba is the Afro-Cuban that studies our problem of races with a clinical eye and philosophical mind, exempt of genuine black racism even if only as a reflection of the white racism and by reaction against this one. And I hope to explain in this presentation, as I have explained in the press, the reason I have for believing that the Negro of America, and singularly that of Cuba, lacks powerful motives to feel racist. The New Negro, in short, is the Afro-Cuban who has ceased to consider his white fellow citizen as a big brother; who looks at the racist white Cuban as a mediatized and malevolent brother, without rancor, but with all the necessary reservations to counteract his harmful influence to the good Cubanness; and who loves the progressive and revolutionary white, revolutionary in the noblest meaning of the word, as a twin brother and a companion in the struggle for national and human vindications. This is the New Negro, the one who has already emerged from the disorientation in which the failure of our revolutions for true democracy plunged his race and the rest of the Cuban popular masses, and who has oriented himself once again by becoming convinced that not even genuine liberal democracy could guarantee him collective economic and social justice, due to its eminently individualistic and plutocratic essence. It has been oriented towards promoting some form of socialism -left-wing in most individuals- compatible with our idiosyncrasy and with the reality of our international relations.
          — Excerpt from “El Nuevo Negro,” Adelante, oct 1937 (vol. 29)

          Black Intelligence

          The author presents how the production of heroes has not been the only record of the development of black culture in Cuba, but characters in poetry and music. Despite the recognition that Afro-Cubans have achieved internationally, they continue to be discriminated against in Cuban society. Blacks and whites must contribute to eliminating discrimination. The translation of “Inteligencia Negra” is included in this teaching tool:


          If we meditate on the time elapsed since the Negro was admitted to the Centers of Higher Education to date, we will notice how his intellect has improved with astonishing rapidity; every second that passes brings him closer to the light of wisdom and casts out the ever-poisonous light of ignorance. The number of intellectual blacks is increasing, showing signs of clear understanding and unshakable faith to reach the goal of triumph. Our country for years has been the cradle of blacks whose fame has filled the pages of our history. As an example, we have Maceo, to whose great technique and bravery we owe a great part of winning our war of independence, the heroism and capacity demonstrated at the front of the Invasion has earned him to be compared by historians with the greatest generals of all times; As poets, we have Plácido, martyr of the first moments, without possessing great education he knew how to stand out by composing several poems, among which we can mention Plegaria a Dios [Prayer to God], that he recited when he was going to be shot; musician like Brindis Salas, the eminent violinist known in Europe and America; and many others that belonged to the time in which the Black was enslaved, and therefore it was almost impeded to him to cultivate his intelligence. With all this, even today, when the Negro is at the cultural level of the most civilized races, he is still repudiated from the bosom of society. But it is time that equality is established for all, that justice is not determined by the color of the skin but by the qualities of the people. To this, we must all contribute, blacks and whites, completely united, as in the fields of the Revolution to conquer the independence of the fatherland.
          — Excerpt from “La inteligencia negra” [Black Intelligence] Adelante, March 1938 (vol. 34)