This essay introduces a special section on the Afro-Cuban poet and intellectual Nancy Morejón’s 1982 book Nación y mestizaje en Nicolás Guillén (Nation and Mestizaje in Nicolás Guillén). It sets up the contributors by surveying the literary and political trajectory of Morejón’s career in the years leading up to the publication of the book, focusing in part on her silencing by the Cuban state because of earlier activities centered on Afro-Cuban rights. The essay considers the themes and arguments of Nación y mestizaje, recognizing the surfaces, depths, and fissures of its actual and apparent doctrinaire lauding of Guillén as exemplar of Cuba’s cultural politics.

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