Book on Barbadian Migration to Cuba Featured at Havana International Book Fair

Havana, CUBA (Sunday, February 12, 2017) - The book Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba: Stories of Early Twentieth-Century Migration from Barbados by Barbadian journalist Dr. Sharon Milagro Marshall, was the subject of a panel discussion at the 26th Havana International Book Fair, now underway in Cuba.

Dr. Milagros Martínez Reinosa, Executive Secretary of the Caribbean Studies Chair at the University of Havana, introduced the book during the discussion, which was held on Friday, February 10, 2017 at the prestigious editorial house, Casa de las Américas. Camila Valdés León, Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at Casa de las Américas, served as moderator.

Dr. Martínez stated that, “the book is an obligatory reference in Cuba if one is studying Barbadian migration to our country.” She added that, for some time, research on the subject of migration from Barbados to Cuba had remained a work to be done, commenting that, “We have done a much better job with researching Jamaican and Haitian migration to Cuba.” She highlighted the rigour with which Dr. Marshall carried out her academic research. Dr. Martínez concluded that, “Sharon is a journalist as well as an academic, and that is why the book seduces us so much.”

In her remarks, Dr. Marshall said the book honours the adventurous Barbadians like her maternal grandparents, and other British West Indians, who ventured out from their home countries to seek greener pastures in Cuba during that era.  “I am so grateful that I was able to conduct interviews with some of these brave, resilient ancestors” she said, “and to help them give voice to their stories, in their own words.” She thanked Casa de las Américas and the Embassy of Barbados in Cuba for their invaluable assistance in ensuring that her book was included in the programme of the book fair. Dr. Marshall said it was the realization of a dream, made even more special by the fact that so many of her Cuban relatives were in attendance.

Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba was published in September 2016 by the University of the West Indies Press. The publication is available online from uwipress.com, amazon.com, and from the distributors longleafservices.org.  In Barbados, it is available at the UWI bookshop at the Cave Hill Campus.

The Havana International Book Fair is considered Cuba’s premier cultural event, as well as the event with the highest attendance in Havana. It consists of seminars and panel discussions, book vending, poetry readings, children’s activities, book and art exhibitions, and concerts. The 2017 edition of the fair runs from February 9-19 in Havana, after which it will move to other provinces.

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Photograph captions:

#2 - (l-r) Gilberto Bengochea Pascal, Dr. Sharon Marshall, Dr. Milagros Martínez Reinosa, and Camila Valdés León

# 3- Dr. Marshall presents a copy of her book to her cousin, Migdalia Ford Marshall, the oldest of her relatives in Cuba

#4 - Donna Forde, Chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of Barbados in Cuba, looks on as Dr. Marshall signs her copy of the book

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