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This chapter recaps the historiography of accounts of the finding of the Virgin’s effigy in 1612 in eastern Cuba, and the subsequent seventeenth- and eighteenth-century growth of her cult among Indians and then the enslaved African and black creole miners in El Cobre who constructed her shrines. An examination of how devotees’ perceptions of race have influenced the social history of the cult since its inception counters the temptation to regard “creolization” as a unifying harmonization, rather than a contested process. Scholars of African American religions are challenged to conduct more closely drawn social histories to account for the varied experiences of slavery, and to re-assess the assumption that popular Catholicism among blacks more often than not constitutes a “crypto-religious” phenomenon hiding “authentic” African devotions. The growth of the cult in Oriente (eastern Cuba) coincided with the appeals to the Virgin and to civil authorities

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