The University of Notre Dame Press this fall will publish a new book by St. Mary’s University Professor Gerald Poyo titled “Cuban Catholics in the United States, 1960-1980, Exile and Integration.”
Everyday life for Cubans in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s involved an intimate interaction between commitment to an exile identity and reluctant integration into a new society. For Catholic Cuban exiles, their faith provided a filter through which they analyzed and understood both their exile and their ethnic identities. Catholicism offered the exiles continuity: a community of faith, a place to gather, a sense of legitimacy as a people. Religion exerted a major influence on the beliefs and actions of Cuban exiles as they integrated into U.S. culture and tried at the same time to make sense of events in their homeland.
“Cuban Catholics in the United States, 1960-1980, Exile and Integration” examines all these facets of the exile and integration process among Catholics, primarily in south Florida, but the voices of others across the United States, Latin America, and Europe also enter the story.
The book begins with an examination of Catholics in Cuba during the 1940s and 1950s and traces their departure as they challenged the emergence of communism. The personal papers of exiles, their books and pamphlets, newspaper articles, government archives, and personal interviews provide the historical data for this book. In his thorough examination, Poyo provides insights not only for this community but for other faith-based exile communities.
Poyo is the author and editor of a number of books, including “Presente! U.S. Latino Catholics from Colonial Times to the Present.” Poyo is a professor of history at St. Mary’s University.