Abisko, Sweden (Summer 2012).
A twentieth-century U.S. historian and historian of U.S. philanthropy, I am currently writing a book tentatively titled From Tuskegee to Myrdal. It traces how and why leading American foundations initiated the process of transforming themselves from advocates of segregated education for black Americans to becoming core institutions of the postwar civil rights struggle in the United States. The subsequent project will continue the chronology of this first book manuscript and explore what big philanthropy meant by advocating racial equality in the United States during the later half of the twentieth century.
I am an Assistant Professor of History at Clemson University. During the 2016-2018 academic years, I am on a research sabbatical to complete this two-part project. The sabbatical is made possible by an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from Carnegie Corporation of New York.
My parents immigrated to Miami from Havana as teenagers in the late 1960s; 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.
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.