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Afro-Cuban CostumbrismoFrom Plantations to the Slums$
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Rafael Ocasio

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813041643

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813041643.001.0001

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The Costumbristas' Views of Manly Black Males

The Costumbristas' Views of Manly Black Males

Uppity Blacks and Thugs

(p.120) 4 The Costumbristas' Views of Manly Black Males
Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo

Rafael Ocasio

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines the resolution among Costumbristas to bring Black characters to the forefront, particularly freed urban Black men. In contrast to a basic and rather monolithic representation of Black female types, these male figures had remarkably different sociopolitical values as literary characters. The section entitled “The Uppity Blacks and the Black Thugs in Urban Cuban Life” illustrates the Costumbrista's handling of two specific types of urban activity pursued mainly by male Blacks: (1) that of the calesero or driver of fashionable calesas, coaches that crowded in large numbers the streets of Cuban cities and (2) that of the curro, the Black thug, who dared to roam the streets of Havana as a cold-blooded criminal. As the opposite of the calesero, the curro remained marginal to mainstream attempts (if, indeed, there were any) to incorporate him into acceptable social behavior.

Keywords:   nineenth-century Cuba, Gelabert, Francisco de Paula, Betancourt, José Victoriano, Cuban Black males, curro, calesero, mataperros

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