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Unbecoming BlacknessThe Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America$
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Antonio Lopez

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814765463

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814765463.001.0001

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Re/Citing Eusebia Cosme

Re/Citing Eusebia Cosme

(p.61) 2 Re/Citing Eusebia Cosme
Unbecoming Blackness

Antonio López

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the poetry of performer and actress Eusebia Cosme. Cosme was famous in the Hispanophone Caribbean for her stagings of poesía negra, the verse of predominantly white and mixed-race men that sought to represent the popular cultures and identities of Afro-Latin Americans. Her performances in the United States pushed poesía negra beyond its own belated situation over the course of the 1940s—a career that benefited from Cosme's contacts with African Americans through print-culture spaces such as the Chicago Defender, relationships with figures such as Langston Hughes, and in venues such as the auditorium of Armstrong High School. All of these formed Cosme's afrolatinidad, along with island-Cuban representations of her racial identity, including Fernando Ortiz's “mulata” designation. The chapter looks at Cosme's later film career as an example of her commitment to finding and doing work in the arts, against the odds.

Keywords:   Eusebia Cosme, poesía negra, Hispanophone Caribbean, afrolatinidad, mulata, Fernando Ortiz, racial identity, Afro-Latin Americans, African Americans

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