Abisko, Sweden (Summer 2012).
A twentieth-century U.S. historian and global historian of U.S. philanthropy, I am co-founder and editor of HistPhil and Assistant Professor of History at Clemson University.
Facilitated by an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship during the 2016-18 academic years, I am working on two book projects. The first book (currently under review) details the colonial African roots to Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma (1944). This genesis story is less about racial equality in the U.S.—as many Americans would like to remember the study—and more about racial control across the Atlantic. The second book, for which I am now writing the proposal, details when and why elite foundations such as the Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Ford foundations became particularly invested in the U.S. civil rights movement. Underscoring common (and yet too, distinct) patterns of behavior among the three leading philanthropies at the time, the book illustrates why in the latter half of the 1960s all three organizations became allies—albeit late, relatively insincere, and short-lived allies—of the U.S. civil rights movement.
My parents immigrated to Miami from Habana in 1967 and 1968; and little over a decade later, I was born. At sixteen, I moved up 'North', and since then, have analyzed what it means for a minority group member such as myself to be an equal participant of the national community. Research into the African American experience not only has provided me with counsel, but with the greatest historical context for understanding majority-minority group dynamics in the United States.
Most recently in March 2019, I traveled to Cuba (the first time for my mom since she left in 1968, and first time for me). Pierced the Iron Curtain that has defined so much of my life and feeling so very proud of being Cuban.
I learned Spanish at home, throughout grade school, and in college.
Alongside Spanish, I studied French at university. After a few years of language learning, I enrolled at Sciences Po Paris; and living in the Left Bank, came to learn about Simone de Beauvoir. Subsequently, I became interested in the history of feminism, and after a few afternoons at la Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand, I learned how intellectually-engaging archival research could be.
My interest in Simone de Beauvoir's race/sex analogy in The Second Sex (1949) led me to read further on the Swede Gunnar Myrdal and the Americans Richard Wright, Ralph Bunche, and W.E.B. Du Bois. I thought about these scholars throughout law school and into graduate school. When my focus turned to Myrdal's An American Dilemma (1944) in graduate school (and finding comfort in Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's own acquisition of Swedish after law school), I embarked on a journey to learn this fourth language.