Bonnie Lucero's Race and Reproduction in Cuba is a rigorous and rich study of the state's intervention in Cuban women's reproduction (pregnancy, childbirth, child-rearing) beginning in the early colonial period and through the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. The bulk of the narrative focuses on the nineteenth century, a period that profoundly shaped the island's demographic composition. The study is also an analysis of how racism specifically affected Black women's lives: the author highlights the contrast between the protective policies that the state implemented toward white women and the punishing ones that restricted Black women's lives and choices.

With the collapse of the Indigenous population due to disease and exploitation following Spain's colonization, an enslaved African labor force became the motor behind colonial Cuba's thriving plantation economy. By the 1790s, people of African descent were in a demographic majority. The elites’ state of anxiety over this development would outlive the...

You do not currently have access to this content.