In 1959, Fidel Castro and his band of revolutionaries declared the establishment of a society that would end racism in Cuba. Castro’s camp has often claimed that the Revolution eradicated racism, abolished discrimination and established a racial democracy unique in the world. Yet, nearly 50 years later, many black Cubans still have no position of power in the country. While some maintain that Castro achieved his goal of creating a raceless society, Carlos Moore spent years—some in prison and later in exile—proclaiming that racism was rampant despite the rhetoric.
Pichón: Race and Revolution in Castro’s Cuba: A Memoir (Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, November 2008) by Carlos Moore with a foreword by Maya Angelou chronicles the life of one of the most extraordinary modern-day activists to emerge from Cuba. When Moore was first called a “pichón” as a young boy, he did not know its meaning, but he sensed that the word was more damaging than other insults. He later learned that “pichón” is Cuba’s most derogatory term for blacks.
Moore’s childhood was marred by poverty, racial prejudice and social exclusion, and Pichón traces his search for purpose in life and the development of his racial and political consciousness. At 15, Moore moved to New York with his father and siblings, anxious to escape the brutal civil war being waged by Batista and Castro and to experience the freedom he equated with America. Shocked by the racial prejudice he encountered in the United States, Moore became involved in the civil rights movement and learned the deeper meaning of the black experience and the importance of truth and justice. As chronicled in Pichón, he was also mentored by some of the era’s foremost black intellectuals, including Maya Angelou, Malcolm X, Alex Haley and Aimé Césaire.
Moore returned to Cuba in 1961 with a commitment to Castro’s new racism-free state, only to realize that skin color still determined one’s treatment. Pichón traces his imprisonment and eventual exile for speaking out against Castro, as well as his return to Cuba over three decades later.
Revealing the most pivotal political moments of the 20th century with fervor and poignancy, Pichón is a devastating yet redemptive account of one man’s battles with racism, revolution and resistance, and his uplifting fight for justice, all of which raise consciousness about the human condition.
Carlos Moore was born in Cuba in 1942, the son of Jamaican immigrants. A political scientist and an ethnologist, Moore lectures on race and publishes internationally. His book on controversial African music icon Fela Kuti is forthcoming from Lawrence Hill Books in 2009. Maya Angelou is a renowned poet and civil rights activist.
“Moore has written an astounding book about revolution, resistance, passion, and compassion . . . an irresistibly human tale.” —Maya Angelou, from the foreword
“A bold and poignant book by one of the world’s most daring intellectuals and scholars . . . Read and marvel, but also read and learn.” —Edwidge Danticat, author of Brother, I’m Dying
Title: Pichón: Race and Revolution in Castro’s Cuba: A Memoir
Author: Carlos Moore; Foreword by Maya Angelou
Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books, an imprint of Chicago Review Press, Distributed by Independent Publishers Group
Publication: November 2008, $26.95 (CAN $29.95), Cloth, ISBN 1556527675; ISBN-13: 9781556527678
Autobiography/Politics, 395 pages, 6 x 9, 30 B/W photos
Available at bookstores everywhere and through Independent Publishers Group,
814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610.
Toll-free number for orders only: 1-800-888-4741
Visit the publisher at http://www.ipgbook.com
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