Francisco Rodriguez, Senior

Citation
Francisco Rodriguez, Senior

Material Information

Title:
Francisco Rodriguez, Senior
Series Title:
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
Creator:
Rodriguez, Francisco A., b. 1888
Anthony, Otis R
Black History Research Project of Tampa
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file (84 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Cuban Americans -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Cigar industry -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
African Americans -- Florida ( lcsh )
African Americans -- History -- Florida ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
Francisco Rodriguez, Sr. discusses the history of Ybor City's Afro-Cuban community. Rodriguez came to Tampa in 1909 and worked in the cigar factories for decades; he describes the factories and other customs. His son, Francisco Rodriguez, Jr., a prominent attorney who was involved in several civil rights lawsuits, is also present during the interview and adds comments.
Venue:
Interview conducted August 11, 1978.
General Note:
Other interviewers for the Black History Research Project of Tampa were Fred Beaton, Joyce Dyer, Herbert Jones, and Shirley Smith.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Otis R. Anthony and members of the Black History Research Project of Tampa.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
020800134 ( ALEPH )
436229223 ( OCLC )
A31-00047 ( USFLDC DOI )
a31.47 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nim 2200457Ia 4500
controlfield tag 001 020800134
005 20140205113323.0
006 m u
m d
007 sz zunnnnnzned
cr nna||||||||
008 090910s1978 fluuunn sd t n eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a A31-00047
0 033
19780811
b 3934
035
(OCoLC)436229223
040
FHM
c FHM
090
E185.93.F5
1 100
Rodriguez, Francisco A.,
Sr.,
d b. 1888.
245
Francisco Rodriguez, Senior
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Otis R. Anthony and members of the Black History Research Project of Tampa.
260
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1978.
300
1 sound file (84 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
440
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
5 FTS
500
Other interviewers for the Black History Research Project of Tampa were Fred Beaton, Joyce Dyer, Herbert Jones, and Shirley Smith.
FTS
518
Interview conducted August 11, 1978.
FTS
520
Francisco Rodriguez, Sr. discusses the history of Ybor City's Afro-Cuban community. Rodriguez came to Tampa in 1909 and worked in the cigar factories for decades; he describes the factories and other customs. His son, Francisco Rodriguez, Jr., a prominent attorney who was involved in several civil rights lawsuits, is also present during the interview and adds comments.
600
Rodriguez, Francisco A.,
Sr.,
b. 1888.
650
Cuban Americans
z Florida
Tampa.
Cigar industry
Florida
Tampa.
2 610
Unin Mart Maceo (Tampa, Fla.).
African Americans
Florida.
African Americans
Florida
x History.
7 655
Oral history.
local
Online audio.
local
700
Anthony, Otis R.
710
Black History Research Project of Tampa.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Tampa Library.
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?a31.47
y USF ONLINE ACCESS
FTS
951
10
SFU01:002028022;
FTS


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
transcript timecoded false doi A31-00047 skipped 15 dategenerated 2015-06-10 19:25:01
segment idx 0time text length 200 Note: Since Mr. Rodriguez did not speak much English, his son Francisco, Jr., translated for him. The original transcript summarizes the questions and responses, and does not transcribe them verbatim.
131 How Mr. Rodriguez came to Tampa
2448 Mr. Rodriguez was born in 1888 in Cuba, in the province of Pinar del Ro. He came to Tampa on November 3, 1909, at the age of twenty-one. All of the factories in Cuba had a lector, or reader, and the readers always had glowing accounts of the United States and its progress and industries. When he arrived, Tampa "was a very poor city and very scarce in culture." However, there was a lot of promise for Latin cigar workers, who were very skilled.
3392 The cigar workers' culture and training was very meager in those days. When work was scarce the black workers were the first to lose their jobs, even though they were among the most skilled. Domestic life was very simple because there was nothing to do but work, and most of their energy was spent on trying to survive. "There was little room for cultural growth or any other kind of growth."
429 Forming La Union Mart-Maceo
5845 During the Cuban war of independence, the black and white Cubans in Tampa would meet and discuss what they could do to help the war effort. There was a great fraternal spirit between the black Cubans and the white Cubans during this time. They would meet together at the same place without thought of race. But after the war there was a fragmentation between the two races. Therefore, it became necessary for each group to form its own organization, since the white Cubans began following the local custom of separating from the blacks. This led to the founding of La Union Mart-Maceo. However, since the epic hero of Cuba, Antonio Maceo, was black, there was always some fraternal spirit between the two groups. The Union Mart-Maceo always preached unity among black Cubans, because they were a minority and needed to always work as a unit.
635 Tampa's black Cubans during the war
7428 The black Cubans in Tampa had a great influence, because in Cuba, many of the war's leaders were black. The principal emancipator was Antonio Maceo. Black history as it relates to Cuba's independence has not been given its proper place in history, but anyone who has lived in Cuba or read about Cuban history is familiar with it. There were many generals and other people who played an important part, such as Quintin Guanderra.
8533 In Tampa, there were many Cubans, but the cigar factories where they worked were owned by Spaniards. This was a very awkward position for them. Paulina Pedroso was a black Cuban woman who organized the black people to raise money and enthusiasm for the war. She was the only one who had the guts to hold meetings at her house. Jos Mart came to some of the meetings there. The house was located on Eighth Avenue and Thirteenth Street, where there is now a statue of Mart. The Rodriguez family lived in this house for many years.
9647 Paulina Pedroso was a very homely looking woman, very dark with almost African features. She lacked formal education, but she had a great speaking ability and could captivate the entire audience whenever she spoke. She had a tremendous driving force. Many of the blacks were afraid of losing their jobs, but Pedroso could get them going. One time at a meeting with many reluctant people, Pedroso said that the man who is fearful of the Spanish should climb on stage and give her his trousers, and he could have her skirt in exchange. "He should be wearing the skirts and I need to wear the trousers that he has on." This is a very famous incident.
10251 Pedroso's house was the only place where Jos Mart was not afraid to go. He would not stop in white Cubans' homes because he was afraid for his life. He organized expeditions in Tampa, New York, and New Orleans, which ultimately left from the Keys.
11451 In Tampa, there were a few minor conflicts. Many of the Spaniards had themselves suffered from tyranny and government mismanagement, so they were in favor of the Cubans. Therefore there weren't too many problems. The real enemy was the Spanish manufacturers; the ordinary Spaniards were on the Cubans' side. Vincente Martinez Ybor was a Spaniard, but he was very sympathetic to Cuban independence, which made him almost an outcast with his own people.
1216 Mart and Maceo
13312 Jos Mart was a white man, "an apostle of independence;" Antonio Maceo was a black man, "a fighter for independence." Mart was highly educated and cultured. He was not involved with the physical aspects of the war, but rather gathering funds and marshalling forces. Maceo was the military man and epic hero.
14236 Mr. Rodriguez does not think there was any special significance for naming the club after both of them. During the war black and white Cubans had one objective: independence from Spain. All of the concerns about prejudice came later on.
1539 La Union Mart-Maceo and its influence
16618 The club was very small and had very little effect on the community in terms of material things. They didn't build big buildings. But they had a high level of very good behavior. At that time no one ever heard of a black Cuban being arrested for being drunk or beating his wife or stealing. That didn't happen until later when they became "real Americans." Black Cubans were given some special treatment. They weren't as good as white people, but they were considered better than black Americans. The club used to have monthly recitals, speeches, plays and other things, which no other part of the black community had.
1714 Black lectores
18233 There were not many black lectores, or readers, in the cigar factories. Mr. Rodriguez Jr. only remembers one, Facon Gracion, who was related to Mrs. Grin. There were several lectores who tried out, but they didn't make the grade.
1919 The cigar factories
20318 Mr. Rodriguez worked for more than sixty years in the cigar factories. All of his family was raised here, and he supported them by working in the cigar factories. Francisco Jr. is the youngest of his children. There were many factories and blacks worked in all of them except Hav-A-Tampa, which was owned by Americans.
217 Strikes
22252 There were two significant strikes. The first was in 1910, and lasted seven months. It was all about union recognition, which was for the white people. Union recognition meant expelling blacks from any positions. The unions were not in favor of blacks.
23209 The second strike was in 1920 and lasted for ten months. The blacks were opposed to this one for the same reason: the unions were not in favor of blacks. The blacks stood to gain nothing from the cigar unions.
2420 Vigilante activities
25208 Both men remember a case that involved the chief of police. The [Joseph A.] Shoemaker and [Eugene F.] Poulnot case was one of the worst. Both were tarred and feathered; Shoemaker died, while Poulnot survived.
26570 This case occurred in 1935. Shoemaker and Poulnot were members of the Modern Democrats, a political organization which opposed Tampa's two dominant political factions. Police officers arrested, flogged, tarred and feathered them, along with Dr. Samuel A. Rogers, who was also a member of the organization. Eleven policemen were indicted for kidnapping and second degree murder, including R.G. Tittsworth, the chief of police. Five were convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, a verdict reversed by the Florida Supreme Court. Ultimately all charges were dropped.
2721 Other cigar factories
28147 There were about twenty or twenty-five factories, including Stockenberg and Martinez Ybor. Father and son discuss some of the factories in Spanish.
29Afro-Cuban religious traditions
30240 The Cubans had several different religions. The first was basic Christianity. The second was saint worship. They had a group of African saints that corresponded to every Christian saint. Then they had spirits, "and you can just pick yours."
3143 Superstitions, voodoo, and childhood pranks
32663 There was a Cuban woman who was very superstitious; she didn't like Francisco Jr. and was always making him get punished. Francisco Jr. and his friend Raynell E. Sloan got into a lot of mischief. They got a little bag of loose tobacco, which they made look mysterious. They took some sand and dyed it by pouring ink on it, which they poured into the bag. Then they took a chicken feather and put it into the bag. To people who believe in voodoo, this is a terrible thing. They slipped the bag through the woman's shutters, and when she saw it she screamed and panicked. No one knew that Francisco Jr. did it until he was grown up and would not be whipped for it.
33748 The woman spent lots of money to be exorcised from the bag. She got a witch doctor, who told her that it was designed to rot her legs off. According to him, it was a special poisonous substance from the South American jungles. He charged her twenty-five or thirty dollars for this service, which was a lot of money then. Then she went to a second witch doctor, who told her to wash her house with male urine, then bury the bag in the sand and put a white cross on it, which would send the evil spirits away. This witch doctor also told her that another woman in the neighborhood had done it, so she convinced the landlord to get rid of this second woman. Francisco Jr. liked the second woman's daughter, and the incident is still on his conscience.
3430 More about Afro-Cuban religion
35391 They had a four-tier system. The first was basic Christianity. Then there was a series of saints, and people worshiped the saint of their birthday or birth month. Each saint also had a corresponding African saint. Finally, there were the spirits. Some people might skip one or two of the grades, but some followed the whole thing. Some people were so well-versed they knew all of the saints.
36265 Everybody had a saint. When people got together, they would start talking about saints and ask who each person's saint was. One of the most powerful was [Our Lady of Charity], who corresponded to Oshun, the African saint. People borrowed a lot from African worship.
37Lottery
38571 There were two types of lotteries. One was numbers from one to a hundred, which people would play. Then there were lottery tickets. People could pick up as much as seven thousand dollars if they got the right ticket. Running alongside the lottery was the "dream book." Dreams always corresponded to a number, and there was always someone in the community who was an expert on dreams. If you dreamed about a spider, the expert would tell you to play the number seven, since that corresponded to spider. Francisco Jr.'s mother and cousin had encyclopedic minds for numbers.
39372 The lottery would throw every day, but his mother could remember what number had been thrown thirty days ago, and whose number it was. People never played for large sums of money: ten, thirty-five cents. It was a topic for conversation. People would discuss how long it had been since their numbers won, and someone else could say which day the number had last been drawn.
40309 People "subscribed" to their numbers. Francisco Jr.'s mother had the number ninety-eight, and the numbers man put her down every day for ten cents on that number. She didn't have to pay every day, only on Saturdays when she had the money. If ninety-eight won, the man would bring her eight dollars for a dime.
41Faith and the lottery
42608 When Francisco Jr. was a child, he joined the Knights of Pythias, which was like the Boy Scouts. They had uniforms, but the family could not afford to buy him a uniform. People in Ybor City would ask God to throw their numbers, so that's what his mother did. Every night the numbers were thrown at eight o'clock. There was a particular store that sold uniforms, which closed at nine o'clock. His mother dressed him and sat him down on the porch, and continued with her business. At 8:15, the numbers man came and brought his mother her eight dollars, and she took him to the store and bought him the uniform.
43The lottery was never seen as a sin; it was just part of life. Mr. Rodriguez was very conservative and never played, but Mrs. Rodriguez did. He never objected to her winning money, but she never spent a lot of money on the lottery like some people did.
44How black Cubans viewed black Americans
45694 Mr. Rodriguez suspects that black Americans feel as if black Latins look down on black Americans. This may be an erroneous concept that comes from the language barrier, since people didn't speak the same language. Francisco Jr. agrees that the language barrier plays a role, but he thinks the customs barrier is also important. The black Cubans were from a small country, and people from small countries are highly nationalistic. They were in a very strange position, since they were Latin by background but went to American schools. The Latins used to live in their own section with their own clubs. His parents adhered to Latin customs and wouldn't change because they were living in America.
46471 For example, at that time in Latin homes, girls had to have chaperones whenever the young men came to visit. If they went to an American home and saw a girl sitting with her boyfriend, they would consider that highly immoral. Part of this was because of the time they were living in, but a great deal of it was the culture. The Latins had a much higher concept of the sacredness of womanhood than the Americans did, so they had certain customs that could not be violated.
4725 Other groups in Ybor City
48346 Sometimes there would be Jews or Frenchmen, but they were just single people. The basic composition of Ybor City was Spaniards, Cubans, and Italians, and within those groups there were blacks and whites. People often don't understand that about the Cubans; they don't realize that there are black Cubans. Francisco Jr. experiences this every day.
49307 A lot of people don't understand that the African influence is very strong in the islands. There are so many black people in Cuba. This is also true in Haiti, which is a black republic and the people all speak French. Even [American] blacks cannot conceive of a black man speaking something besides English.
501 4
unicode usage 2-byte sequence starting at 616 [195 173 (c3 ad ) {"\u00ed"} ]. [ the province of Pinar del Ro. He came to Tampa on November 3, 1909].2-byte sequence starting at 1538 [195 173 (c3 ad ) {"\u00ed"} ]. [ La Union Mart-Maceo
5
Mart and Maceo
13Jos Mart was a white man, "an apostle of indepe].2-byte sequence starting at 5358 [195 173 (c3 ad ) {"\u00ed"} ]. [ length="312">Jos Mart was a white man, "an apostle of indep].2-byte sequence starting at 5473 [195 173 (c3 ad ) {"\u00ed"} ]. [ for independence." Mart was highly educated and cultured. H].2-byte sequence starting at 6042 [195 173 (c3 ad ) {"\u00ed"} ]. [ length="39">La Union Mart-Maceo and its influence
].2-byte sequence starting at 7052 [195 177 (c3 b1 ) {"\u00f1"} ]. [ who was related to Mrs. Grin. There were several lectores who].Either a special charachter or continuing byte in a multi-byte sequence at 7055 161. [ was related to Mrs. Grin. There were several lectores who ].



PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2009, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.

PAGE 2

! Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: A31 00047 Interviewee: Francisco Rodriguez, Sr. Interviewers: Fred Beaton, Otis Anthony Interview date: August 11, 1978 Interview location: Ybor City Branch, Tampa Public Library Transcribed by: Unknown Transcription date: Unknown Detailed summary by: Mary Beth Isaacson Detailed s ummary date: December 19, 2008 Final edit by: Maria Kreiser Final edit date: March 19, 2009 Note: Since Mr. Rodriguez did not speak much English, his son Francisco, Jr., translated for him. The original transcript summarizes the questions and responses, and does not transcribe them verbatim. How Mr. Rodriguez came to Tampa Mr. Rodriguez was born in 1888 in Cuba, in the province of Pinar del RÂ’o. He came to Tampa on No vemb er 3, 1909, at the age of twenty one All of the factories in Cuba had a lector or reader, and the readers always had glowing accounts of the United States and its progress and industries. When he arrived, Tampa "was a very poor city and very scarce in cu lture." However, there was a lot of promise for Latin cigar workers, who were very skilled. The cigar workers' culture and training was very meager in those days. When work was scarce the black workers were the first to lose their jobs, even though they were among the most skilled. Domestic life was very simple because there was nothing to do but work, and most of their energy was spent on trying to survive. "There was little room for cultural growth or any other kind of growth." Forming La Union MartÂ’ M aceo During the Cuban war of independence, the black and white Cubans in Tampa would meet and discuss what they could do to help the war effort. There was a great fraternal spirit between the black Cubans and the white Cubans during this time. They would m eet together at the same place without thought of race. But after the war there was a fragmentation between the two races. Therefore, it became necessary for each group to form its own organization, since the white Cubans began following the local custom o f separating from the blacks. This led to the founding of La Union MartÂ’ Maceo. However, since the epic hero of Cuba, Antonio Maceo, was black, there was always some fraternal spirit between the two groups. The Union MartÂ’ Maceo always

PAGE 3

# preached unity among black Cubans, because they were a minority and needed to always work as a unit. Tampa's b lack Cubans during the war The black Cubans in Tampa had a great influence, because in Cuba, many of the war's leaders were black. The principal emancipator was Antonio Maceo. Black history as it relates to Cuba's independence has not been given its proper place in history, but anyo ne who has lived in Cuba or read about Cuban history is familiar with it. There were many generals and other people who played an important part, such as Quintin Guanderra. In Tampa, there were many Cubans, but the cigar factories where they worked were o wned by Spaniards. This was a very awkward position for them. Paulina Pedroso was a black Cuban woman who organized the black people to raise money and enthusiasm for the war. She was the only one who had the guts to hold meetings at her house. JosÂŽ MartÂ’ came to some of the meetings t here. The house was located on Eighth Avenue and Thirteen th Street, where there is now a statue of MartÂ’. The Rodriguez family lived in this house for many years. Paulina Pedroso was a very homely looking woman, very dark wit h almost African features. She lacked formal education, but she had a great speaking ability and could captivate the entire audience whenever she spoke. She had a tremendous driving force. Many of the blacks were afraid of losing their jobs, but Pedroso co uld get them going. One time at a meeting with many reluctant people, Pedroso said that the man who is fearful of the Spanish should climb on stage and give her his trousers, and he could have her skirt in exchange. "He should be wearing the skirts and I n eed to wear the trousers that he has on." This is a very famous incident. Pedroso's house was the only place where JosÂŽ MartÂ’ was not afraid to go. He would not stop in white Cubans' homes because he was afraid for his life. He organized expeditions in Ta mpa, New York, and New Orleans, which ultimately left from the Keys. In Tampa, there were a few minor conflicts. Many of the Spaniards had themselves suffered from tyranny and government mismanagement, so they were in favor of the Cubans. Therefore there weren't too many problems. The real enemy was the Spanish manufacturers ; the ordinary Spaniards were on the Cubans' side. Vincente Martinez Ybor was a Spaniard, but he was very sympathetic to Cuban independence, which made him almost an outcast with his ow n people. MartÂ’ and Maceo JosÂŽ MartÂ’ was a white man, "an apostle of independence;" Antonio Maceo was a black man, "a fighter for independence." MartÂ’ was highly educated and cultured. He was not involved with the physical aspects of the war, but rather g athering funds and marshalling forces. Maceo was the military man and epic hero. Mr. Rodriguez does not think there was any special significance for naming the club after both of them. During the war black and white Cubans had one objective: independence from Spain. All of the concerns about prejudice came later on. La Union MartÂ’ Maceo and its influence

PAGE 4

$ The club was very small and had very little effect on the community in terms of material things. They didn't build big buildings. But they had a high l evel of very good behavior. At that time no one ever heard of a black Cuban being arrested for being drunk or beating his wife or stealing. That didn't happen until later when they became "real Americans." Black Cubans were given some special treatment. Th ey weren't as good as white people, but they were considered better than black Americans. The club used to have monthly recitals, speeches, plays and other things, which no other part of the black community had. Black lectores There were not many black l ectores or readers, in the cigar factories. Mr. Rodriguez Jr. only remembers one, Facon Gracion, who was related to Mrs. Gri–‡n. There were several lectores who tried out, but they didn't make the grade. The cigar factories Mr. Ro driguez worked for more than sixty years in the cigar factories. All of his family was raised here, and he supported them by working in the cigar factories. Francisco Jr. is the youngest of his children. There were many factories and blacks worked in all of them except Hav A Tam pa, which was owned by Americans. Strikes There were two significant strikes. The first was in 1910, and lasted seven months. It was all about union recognition, which was for the white people. Un ion recognition meant expelling blacks from any positions. The unions were not in favor of blacks. The second stri ke was in 1920 and lasted for ten months. The blacks were opposed to this one for the same reason: the unions were not in favor of blacks. The blacks stood to gain nothing from the cigar unions. Vigi lante activities Both men remember a case that involved the chief of police The [Joseph A.] Shoemaker and [Eugene F.] Poulnot case was one of the worst. Both were tarred and feathered; Shoemaker died, while Poulnot survived. 1 Other cigar factories There were about twenty or twenty five factories, including Stockenberg and Martinez Ybor. Father and son discuss some of the factories in Spanish. Afro Cuban religious traditions """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "%&'(")*(+",))-..+/"'0"!1$23"4&,+5*6+."*0/"7,-80,9":+.+"5+5;+.(",<"9&+"=,/+.0">+5,).*9(?"*"@,8'9')*8" ,.A*0'B*9',0":&')&",@@,(+/"%*5@*C("9:,"/,5'0*09"@,8'9')*8"<*)9',0(3"7,8')+",<<')+.("*..+(9+/?"<8,AA+/?"9*..+/"*0/" <+*9&+. +/"9&+5?"*8,0A":'9&">.3"4*5-+8"D3"E,A+.(?":&,":*("*8(,"*"5+5;+.",<"9&+",.A*0'B*9',03"F8+G+0"@,8')+5+0" :+.+"'0/')9+/"<,."6'/0*@@'0A"*0/"(+),0/"/+A.++"5-./+.?"'0)8-/'0A"E3H3"%'99(:,.9&?"9&+")&'+<",<"@,8')+3"I'G+":+.+" ),0G')9+/"*0/"(+09+0)+/"9,"<,-."J+*.("'0" @.'(,0?"*"G+./')9".+G+.(+/";J"9&+"I8,.'/*"4-@.+5+"K,-.93"L89'5*9+8J"*88" )&*.A+(":+.+"/.,@@+/3"

PAGE 5

M The Cubans had several different religions. The first was basic Christianity. The second was saint worship. They had a group of African saints that corresponded to every Christian saint Then they had spirits, "and you can just pick yours." Superstitions, voodoo, and childhood pranks There was a Cuban woman who was very superstitious; she didn't like Francisco Jr. and was always making him get punished. Francisco Jr. and his friend Raynell E. Sloan got into a lot of mischief. They got a little bag of loose tobacco, which they made look mysterious. They took some sand and dyed it by pouring ink on it, which they poured into the bag. Then they took a chicken feather and put it into the bag. To people who believe in voodoo, this is a terrible thing. They slipped the bag through the woman's shutters, and when she saw it she screamed and panicked. No one knew that Francisco Jr. did it until he was grown up and would not be whipped for it. The woman spent lots of money to be exorcised from the bag. She got a witch doctor, who told her that it was designed to rot h er legs off. According to him, it was a special poisonous substance from the South Amer ican jungles. He charged her twenty five or thirty dollars for this service, which was a lot of money then. Then she went to a second witch doctor, who told her to wash her house with male urine, then bury the bag in the sand and put a white cross on it, which would send the evil spirits away. This witch doctor also told her that another woman in the neighborhood had done it, so she convinced the landlord to get rid of th is second woman. Francisco Jr. liked the second woman's daughter, and the incident is still on his conscience. More about Afro Cuban religion They had a four tier system. The first was basic Christianity. Then there was a series of saints, and people worshiped the saint of their birthday or birth month. Each saint also had a corresponding African saint. Finally, there were the spirits. Some people might skip one or two of the grades, but some followed the whole thing. Some people were so well versed th ey knew all of the saints. Everybody had a saint. When people got together, they would start talking about saints and ask who each person's saint was. One of the most powerful was [Our Lady of Charity], who corresponded to Oshun, the African saint. People borrowed a lot from African worship. Lottery There were two types of l otteries. One was numbers from one to a hundred which people would play. Then there were lottery tickets. P eople could pick up as much as seven thousand dollars if they got the right ticket. Running alongside the lottery was the "dream book." Dreams always corresponded to a number, and there was always someone in the community who was an expert on dreams. If you dreamed about a spider, the expert wou ld tell you to play the number seven since that corresponded to spider. Francisco Jr.'s mother and cousin had encyclopedic minds for numbers. The lottery would throw every day, but his mother could remember what number h ad been thrown thirty days ago, and whose number it was. People never pl ayed for large sums of money: ten, thirty five cents. It was a topic for conversation. People would discuss how long it had been

PAGE 6

2 since their numbers won, and someone else could say which day the number had last been drawn. People "subscribed" to their numbers. Francisc o Jr.'s mother had the number ninety eight and the numbers m an put her down every day for ten cents on that number. She didn't have to pay every day, only on Saturdays when she had the money. I f ninety eight won, the man would bring her eight dollars for a dime. Faith and the lottery When Francisco Jr. was a ch ild, he joined the Knights of Py thi a s, which was like the Boy Scouts. They had uniforms, but the family could not afford to buy him a uniform. People in Ybor City would ask God to throw their numbers, so that's what his mother did. Every night the numbers were thrown at eight o'clock There was a particular store that sol d uniforms, which closed at nine o'clock His mother dressed him and sat him down on the porch, and continu ed wit h her business. At 8:15 the numbers man ca me and brought his mother her eight dollars and she took him to the store and bought him the uniform. The lottery was never seen as a sin; it was just part of life. Mr. Rodriguez was very conservative and never played, but Mrs. Rodriguez did. He never objected to her winning money, but she never spent a lot of money on the lottery like some people did. How black Cubans viewed black Americans Mr. Rodriguez suspects that black Americans feel as if black Latins look down on black Americans. This may be an erroneous concept that comes from the language barrier, since people didn't speak the same language. Francisco Jr. agrees that the language barrier plays a role, but he thinks the customs barrier is also importa nt. The black Cubans were from a small country, and people from small countries are highly nationalistic. They were in a very strange position, since they were Latin by background but went to American schools. The Latins used to live in their own section w ith their own clubs. His parents adhered to Latin customs and wouldn't change because they were living in America. For example, at that time in Latin homes, girls had to have chaperones whenever the young men came to visit. If they went to an American home and saw a girl sitting with her boyfriend, they would consider that highly immoral. Part of this was because of the time they were living in, but a great deal of it was the culture. The Latins had a much higher concept of the sacredness of womanhood t han the Americans did, so they had certain customs that could not be violated. Other groups in Ybor City Sometimes there would be Jews or Frenchmen, but they were just single people. The basic composition of Ybor City was Spaniards, Cubans, and Italians, and within those groups there were blacks and whites. People often don't understand that about the Cubans; they don't realize that there are black Cubans. Francisco Jr. experiences this every day. A lot of people don't understand that the African influe nce is very strong in the islands. There are so many black people in Cuba. This is also true in Haiti, which is a black republic and the

PAGE 7

N people all speak French. Even [American] blacks cannot conceive of a black man speaking something besides English.


printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options

close
Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.