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Introduction

What Comes Transnationally
  • Patricia A. Schechter
Chapter
  • 73 Downloads
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)

Abstract

“There is no racial hatred,” wrote José Martí in 1891, “because there are no races.”1 This study explores four women’s resistance to racism and racialization in a nascent global anti-imperial field, a field that Martí helped to write into existence as he pondered the impact of that “formidable neighbor,” the United States, on an ideal he called “Nuestra America.”2 The chapters in this book map a related set of critiques of race and empire in Liberian missions, anglophone “new woman” literature, Pan-American feminism, and African labor organizing. Like Martí, my chosen representatives of these movements—Amanda Berry Smith, Gertrude Stein, Josefina Silva de Cintrón, and Maida Springer—worked against essentialist notions of race and were transnational figures who crossed the Caribbean and the Atlantic with crucial stops in New York City. Central to my analysis is their refusal to abide by the rules of racial boundary keeping alluded to in Martí’s epigram, rules shaped by ideologies of “civilization” and “race advancement” that were current in his lifetime through World War II. Each woman in this study refused to elaborate or extend racial scripts in their lives and work, a refusal that compromised their ability to earn money, social status, or political currency in their own time and that has left them mostly obscured in our own.

Keywords

White Supremacy Puerto Rican Woman Gender Language Racial Hatred Essentialist Notion 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    José Martí, “Our America,” in fosé Martí: Selected Writings, ed. Esther Allen and Roberto Gonzz Echevarría (New York: Penguin Books, 2002), 295.Google Scholar
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© Patricia A. Schechter 2012

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