Book — 1 online resource (xiii, 251 pages) : illustrations, maps. Digital: data file.
"Very prejudicial" : free people of color in a slave society
Spectacles of power : repressing the conspiracy of La Escalera
Calculated expulsions : free people of color in Mexico, the U.S., Spain, and North Africa
Acts of excess and insubordination : resisting the tranquility of terror
The rise and fall of the militia of color : from the constitution of 1812 to the Escalera era
Balancing acts : the shifting dynamics of race and immigration.
Michele Reid-Vazquez reveals the untold story of the strategies of negotia tion used by free blacks in the aftermath of the "Year of the Lash"--a wave of repression in Cuba that had great implications for the Atlantic World in the next two decades. At dawn on June 29, 1844, a firing squad in Havana executed ten accused ringleaders of the Conspiracy of La Escalera, an alleged plot to abolish slavery and colonial rule in Cuba. The condemned men represented prominent members of Cuba's free community of African descent, including the acclaimed poet Pl cido (Gabriel de la Concepci n Vald s). In an effort to foster a white majority and curtail black rebellion, Spanish colonial authorities also banished, imprisoned, and exiled hundreds of free blacks, dismantled the militia of color, and accelerated white immigration projects. Scholars have debated the existence of the Conspiracy of La Escalera for over a century, yet little is known about how those targeted by the violence responded. Drawing on archival material from Cuba, Mexico, Spain, and the United States, Reid-Vazquez provides a critical window into under standing how free people of color challenged colonial policies of terror and pursued justice on their own terms using formal and extralegal methods. Whether rooted in Cuba or cast into the Atlantic World, free men and women of African descent stretched and broke colonial expectations of their codes of conduct locally and in exile. Their actions underscored how black agency, albeit fragmented, worked to destabilize repression's impact. (source: Nielsen Book Data)