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Cachita's Streets: The Virgin of Charity, Race, and Revolution in Cuba

Jalane D. Schmidt

3 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0822359189 / ISBN 13: 9780822359180
Published by Duke University Press
New Condition: New Hardcover
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Title: Cachita's Streets: The Virgin of Charity, ...

Publisher: Duke University Press

Binding: Hardback

Book Condition: New

About this title


Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, also called Cachita, is a potent symbol of Cuban national identity. Jalane D. Schmidt shows how groups as diverse as Indians and African slaves, Spanish colonial officials, Cuban independence soldiers, Catholic authorities and laypeople, intellectuals, journalists and artists, practitioners of spiritism and Santería, activists, politicians, and revolutionaries each have constructed and disputed the meanings of the Virgin. Schmidt examines the occasions from 1936 to 2012 when the Virgin's beloved, original brown-skinned effigy was removed from her national shrine in the majority black- and mixed-race mountaintop village of El Cobre and brought into Cuba's cities. There, devotees venerated and followed Cachita's image through urban streets, amassing at large-scale public ceremonies in her honor that promoted competing claims about Cuban religion, race, and political ideology. Schmidt compares these religious rituals to other contemporaneous Cuban street events, including carnival, protests, and revolutionary rallies, where organizers stage performances of contested definitions of Cubanness. Schmidt provides a comprehensive treatment of Cuban religions, history, and culture, interpreted through the prism of Cachita.


"Cachita's Streets is a powerful and sweeping story, as the Virgin and her devotees make their persistent and steady progress through many decades of tumultuous historic political events. There is no scholar of religion who knows more about the history of Cuba, and there is no historian of the Caribbean who knows as much about religion, as Jalane D. Schmidt. Cachita's Streets will certainly become one of the definitive books on race and religion in Cuba and Latin America."
Author: Jennifer Scheper Hughes, author of Source: Biography of a Mexican Crucifix: Lived Religion and Local Faith from the Conquest to the Present

"The Virgin of Charity, as Jalane D. Schmidt tells her story in this ambitious and beautifully realized book, is not a symbol indexing the political history of Cuba, but a living presence in the island's streets and homes. Based on the deepest historical research and on long ethnographic study, Cachita’s Streets is a masterful study of the social life of sacred presence."
Author: Robert A. Orsi, author of Source: Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them

"[W]hat makes Cachita's Streets special is the attention the author gives to the many different contexts within which the Virgin has been venerated, supplicated, politicized, and racialized over the centuries—Cuba's  tumultuous 20th century in particular.  Providing a careful study of all the facets of the Virgin’s role in Cuban life, Schmidt documents the multidimensional and contested Cachita of the streets, not merely the Virgin of the shrine in El Cobre.  The result is an exemplary socioreligious history." Author: D. Jacobsen Source: Choice Magazine

"The book is carefully researched and is a special contribution to the study of religion, particularly in the Oriente (Eastern region of Cuba)....Schmidt’s work represents a unique approach to the study of religion in Cuba and uses rich archival research to follow worship of La Virgen de la Caridad throughout the island’s history." Author: Danielle Pilar Clealand Source: Ethnic and Racial Studies

"Cachita’s Streets is deeply researched and skillfully crafted." Author: Reinaldo L. Román Source: New West Indian Guide

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