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Hierarchies at Home traces the experiences of Cuban domestic workers from the abolition of slavery through the 1959 revolution. Domestic service – childcare, cleaning, chauffeuring for private homes – was both ubiquitous and ignored as formal labor in Cuba, a phenomenon made possible because of who supposedly performed it. In Cuban imagery, domestic workers were almost always black women and their supposed prevalence in domestic service perpetuated the myth of racial harmony. African-descended domestic workers were 'like one of the family', just as enslaved Cubans had supposedly been part of the families who owned them before slavery's abolition. This fascinating work challenges this myth, revealing how domestic workers consistently rejected their invisibility throughout the twentieth century. By following a group marginalized by racialized and gendered assumptions, Anasa Hicks destabilizes traditional analyses on Cuban history, instead offering a continuous narrative that connects pre- and post-revolutionary Cuba.
Devyn S. Benson - University of Kentucky
Michael J. Bustamante - University of Miami
Lillian Guerra - University of Florida
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