The Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS) will add a copy of the book by Barbadian author Dr Sharon Marshall, Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba: Stories of Early Twentieth-Century Migration from Barbados, to its collection.
This library holds “one of the richest repositories for material on the Inter-American system in the world,” with books and periodicals dating back to 1535 and “serves the staff of the OAS General Secretariat, Permanent Missions and Permanent Observer Missions to the OAS, Embassies and researchers throughout this hemisphere and the world.”
Tell My Mother I Gone to Cuba chronicles the migration of Barbadians and other British West Indians to Cuba. It describes how American investment in Cuban sugar plantations gave rise to work opportunities for the migrants, and the turbulent events that led to the West Indians being at the centre of a diplomatic confrontation between Cuban and British authorities. The author draws from contemporary newspaper articles, official records, journals and books to set the historical contexts which initiated this intra-Caribbean migratory wave. Through oral histories, it also gives voice to the migrants’ compelling narratives of their experience in Cuba. One of the oral histories recorded in the book is that of the author’s mother, who was born in Cuba of Barbadian parents.
The author presented the book when she paid a courtesy call on OAS Assistant Secretary General Mr Nestor Mendez. She was accompanied by Barbados’ Ambassador to the United States and the OAS, Selwin Hart who remarked that, “Dr Marshall has written an excellent book which is destined to become a classic.”
Ambassador Hart and Dr Marshall also called on Cuban Ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodríguez. The visits were part of a book tour by Dr Marshall which included presentations at Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland, the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Howard University and the Barbados Embassy in Washington D.C.
Dr Marshall’s air travel to the U.S. was sponsored by Barbadian firm C.O. Williams Construction Company Limited.