Cuba before Castro was defined by boundless tourism and vibrant nightlife. From the streets of Havana to the back roads of rural towns, Cuban life was a heady mix of music, dancing, sports, gambling, politics, and struggle. Cuba Then celebrates the intensely colorful culture photography collecter Ramiro A. Fernández remembers from his youth. From the earliest daguerreotypes to glamorous shots of movie stars, a century of the country’s history is represented by a rich spectrum of personalities: race-car driving aristocrats, sultry showgirls, gangsters, everyday folk, and revolutionaries who would soon transform the nation, including Fidel Castro and Che Guevera. An introduction by Fernández shares his early memories of Cuba and details how his love of collecting vintage Cuban photographs began. Through a foreword and poems, Richard Blanco, the Cuban-American poet chosen to speak at President Obama’s second inauguration, meditates on the romantic legacy of old Cuba. A dynamic collage of images, experiences, and memories, Cuba Then presents the glamour and the grit of the island’s tumultuous history, through a collection that passionately preserves traces of a lost homeland.
This event will be presented in collaboration with the University of Miami's Cuban Heritage Collection and the group will host a reception for its AMIGOS members prior to the talk from 7-8pm, catered by Café at Books & Books.