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Happy Hour with the Historian: Crossing the Florida Straits | 150 Years of Cuban Migration to South Florida

9-May from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Happy Hour with the Historian

Crossing the Florida Straits | 150 Years of Cuban Migration to South Florida

May 9, 2024 | 5:00pm-6:00pm

Historian: Cori Convertito Ph.D.

This lecture will explore the Cuban immigration to the United States beginning in a time of peaceful coexistence between the two places.  In the middle and latter part of the 19th century, workers moved freely between Florida and the island, and the trade in tobacco, sugar, coffee, and rum was lucrative. Cigar companies soon began relocating to Florida from Cuba to avoid tariffs and trade regulations. This, coupled with political unrest in Cuba, inspired a large-scale relocation until the Spanish-American War. When Fidel Castro led a revolution in 1959, he launched a new era of mass emigration from his country to the United States.

In the decades that followed, more than one million Cubans made their way to the United States, and thousands more tried and failed. Through the years, as relations between the countries improved or deteriorated, the door of emigration would be opened and closed again and again. As a result, Cubans arrived in South Florida in several distinct phases, each of which had a distinctly different reception. This talk will examine these fluctuations in migration and will discuss the impacts of recent policy changes which influence modern crossings.

This event is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the State of Florida, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust and Comedy Key West.


May 9
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
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Key West Art & Historical Society


Comedy Key West
218 Whitehead Street, #5
Key West, FL 33040 United States
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