Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Susan D. Greenbaum, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kevin A. Yelvington, D.Phil.

Committee Member

S. Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl R. Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James C. Cavendish, Ph.D.


identity formation, historic preservation, voluntary associations, Cuban Diaspora, African Diaspora


This dissertation presents findings from ethnographic research conducted with members of the Sociedad La Unión Martí-Maceo, established by segregated Black Cuban cigar workers in Ybor City in 1904. For decades, Tampa officials have initiated numerous urban revitalization projects aimed at developing a world-class tourist destination and metropolitan center. Often, these efforts have centered on highlighting the ethnic history of Ybor City, from which the participation of Black Cubans and the Martí-Maceo Society have been actively excluded or ignored. The main issues related to contemporary Afro- Cuban identity in Tampa and which will be examined in my dissertation, include the changing nature of the Afro-Cuban community in Tampa in light of increases in migration of Cubans and other Latinos of color to the area; Martí-Maceo members’ struggle to reclaim an Afro-Cuban heritage within Tampa’s larger historic preservation efforts over the past decade; and an examination of the Martí-Maceo Society as a voluntary association that appears to have outlived its usefulness in present-day Tampa despite efforts by elderly members to sustain and expand it.