Habana, Cuba (marzo 2019).
A 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 have been working on two book projects. The projects are based on extensive archival research, which I have conducted over the span of a decade, on the Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford foundations from their geneses to the late twentieth century.
The first book (under contract with UNC Press) details the colonial African roots to Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma (1944), a leading work of postwar racial liberalism in the US commissioned by Carnegie Corporation of New York. Unearthed from the Carnegie Corporation papers, I provide a genesis story to An American Dilemma that 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.
During the 2019-20 academic year, I am the Inaugural International Visiting Professor of Philanthropy at ESBH in Stockholm.
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 — and over the years, research into elite U.S. philanthropy’s construction of knowledge on race throughout the 20th century— not only has provided me with counsel, but with the greatest historical context for understanding white Anglo-American domination within (and beyond) the United States.
Most recently in March 2019, I traveled to Cuba for the first time, piercing 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 attended 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.