Religious Brotherhood for People of Color Manuscript
A very extensive 55 page manuscript containing a full set of regulations for Religious Brotherhood for People of Color named ‘Real Cofradia de Nuestra Senora de Regla’ established in Havana at the ‘Santo Angel Custodio’ Parish. It contains 113 articles regulating functioning of this Cofradia for Colored Pardos and Morenos. Established in one of the most significant Parishes in Havana.
End of Slavery in Cuba;
Under the terms of the Pact of Zanjón, which ended the The Ten Year War in 1878, slaves who fought on either side of the war were set free, but those who did not fight had to endure almost another decade of slavery.
Two years later the Spanish Cortes approved an abolition law (1880) that provided for an eight-year period of patronato (tutelage) for all slaves liberated according to the law. This only amounted to indentured servitude, as slaves were required to spend those 8 years working for their masters at no charge. On October 7 1886, slavery was finally abolished in Cuba by a royal decree that also made the patronato illegal.
The end of legal slavery, however, did not bring racial harmony to Cuba and Spanish “thinkers” continued to warn against the potential “evils” of a racially mixed society.
At the time of emancipation, most slaves were employed on plantations, and most free black Cubans were women who lived in the cities. Cuban society didn’t exactly welcome the free slaves with open arms. For example:
-In 1887, only 11% of Afro-Cubans of all ages could read and write (compared with 33% of whites).
-Spanish officials regularly removed the Don and Doña titles from official documents and identity cards issued to Afro-Cubans. In 1893 these titles were returned, according to an article in La Igualdad on December 16, 1893.
-Afro-Cubans were excluded from seats in theatres (except in the gallery), and many hotels and restaurants refused them service.
-The Union of railroad drivers banned Afro-Cubans from the profession altogether, and many job ads specified a race requirement.
-Official government and cultural influence promoted the racial fears that existed in white society to lock out blacks from society.
After 1898, according to Aline Helg in Our Rightful Share, “Only a few outstanding Afro-Cubans who distinguished themselves by very exceptional military abilities or Western educational standards had access to white privileged circles.”