INSIDE THE HOUSE
he loosening of travel restrictions to Cuba led to the widening of world views of students who visited the island in January 2016 as part of a 37-member Morehouse delegation. Besides soaking in Cuba’s culture and history, students learned one valuable lesson in particular: that the black experience is a powerful bond. Below are personal reflections from a special issue of The Maroon Tiger (Jan 29-Feb. 10, 2016) that covered the trip.
Morehouse faculty, staff and students with students in Cuba.
I WAS IMPRESSED with the Cuban knowledge of self. They know their history. Everybody in their country knew where they came from, everybody knows their roots. Unfortunately, not everybody — [namely] black people in our country—knows where we come from. “I can only imagine where we would be as a community if we all knew where we come from in terms of social justice and social change and equality throughout the country. They’re definitely ahead of us in that regard. –Alexander Harris Junior psychology major
THE HIGHLIGHT of my trip was meeting a wise man named CoCo.… Soaking up his knowledge allowed me to see how we shared more similarities than differences, even though we lived in different parts of the world. He showed a genuine concern and authenticity not because we were college students, tourists or Americans— but because we were black. He expressed love, understanding and the importance of solidarity and what that means for people of color. –Rasheeda Imani Jones Clark Atlanta University Master of Social Work, Class of 2016
AFTER ONLY a couple of days into my stay in Cuba, the amount of African influence in the country’s culture and identity had become clear to me. In the people, I saw Cubans of every shade—from sandpaper brown to midnight black. “In the music, I heard the upbeat rhythms of Son Cubano (The Cuban Sound) and Kumba, two Cuban musical styles rooted in the culture of enslaved Africans brought here during the Transatlantic slave trade. “In the religion, I was captivated by the traditional dance associated with Santeria, a religious practice brought to the Americas by slaves from West Africa. It is now practiced by approximately 70 percent of Cubans. “Every day, I was shown that my blackness was an identity that stretched far beyond American shores. –Vaughn Arterberry Junior CTEM and Spanish major
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