I have been meaning to write about this excellent resource, Directorio de Afrocubanas [Directory of Afro-Cuban Women], which gathers information on Cuban women of African descent who have contributed in a significant manner to Cuban culture and history. The site is managed and edited by Sandra Abd’Allah-Álvarez Ramírez, who also edits the blog Negra cubana tenía que ser [http://negracubanateniaqueser.com/]. Just as an example of the content, some of our readers will recognize the woman featured above: educator and journalist Consuelo Serra.
Consuelo Serra was the daughter of Rafael Serra Montalvo—a journalist and patriotic figure who fought for racial equality, and a close collaborator of José Martí. When she returned with her family from the United States, where her father had been forced into exile from 1880 to 1900, she founded a private school and worked as an English teacher at the Escuela Normal de Maestros [Normal School for Teachers] in Havana. She also wrote for several newspapers and magazines of the moment. Serra collaborated with the magazine Adelante (1936-1939), writing for the education section, “Pedagógicas.”
In the newspaper Diario de la Marina, she participated in the cultural project called “Ideales de una Raza” [The Ideals of a Race] stating that: “We must disseminate our values, since, fortunately, we do not have to create them [as we can be rightfully proud to say] as they have always existed in the minds and hearts of our elders [. . .]. A dignity through which we feel the rightful pride of being Cuban and of being black, because black Cubans have done many good and respectable things at all stages of Cuban life, and not always in a mediocre fashion, but rather in a distinguished and outstanding way. [. . .] Our elders have left us these virtues, these ethical values; it is up to us to gather them up and place them up high, for all the world to see and to achieve peace and unity among all Cubans.” [My own translation.]
[Photo above from the personal files of Dr. Alejandro Fernández, via El Directorio de Afrocubanas http://directoriodeafrocubanas.com/. Also see http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-70cf-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99 where the photo is labeled as: “Consuelo A. Serra Heredia, vested in the robes of Doctor in Pedagogy and Graduated from the New York Normal College in 1905.” She must have been 24 or 25 years old at the time; I believe she was born in 1879 or 1880 (according to a biography of Rafael Serra, her father.]
For more information, see http://directoriodeafrocubanas.com/