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Cuban Literature in the Age of Black InsurrectionManzano, Plácido, and Afro-Latino Religion$
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Matthew Pettway

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496824967

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496824967.001.0001

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Myth of the Christian Poet

Myth of the Christian Poet

The Death, Resurrection, and Redemption of Plácido

(p.86) Chapter Three Myth of the Christian Poet
Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection

Matthew Pettway

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter explores how Plácido’s poems on race differed from that of Manzano, his enslaved counterpart.Plácido, whose mulatto racial identity was never in doubt, saw little need to create such an image for public consumption.Rather, his satirical poems mocked the mulatto desire to become white through the denial of African ancestry.This chapter examines Plácido’s Catholic poetry alongside his racial satire to demonstrate that the contradiction inherent in his literary work.The analysis of Plácido’s religious poetry in tandem with his satire exposes the apparent contradictions that arose from the articulation of a racial politics in defiance of whiteness on the one hand and the adulation of Catholicism on the other.Poems such as “Death of the Redeemer,” “The Birth of Christ,” “For the Death of Christ,” “The Resurrection,” and two relatively unknown poems, “My Imprisonment” and “To Lince, from Prison” are historical evidence of how Plácido negotiated good social standing with local ecclesiastical elites.

Keywords:   Plácido, Gabriel de la Concepción Valdés, Race, Mulatto, whitening

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