This paper explores that campaign to recruit and its relative successes and failures. In particular, I trace the three major components of the campaign to recruit black workers: (1) Party support for the Scottsboro Nine, arrested on trumped up rape charges in Alabama, (2) declaration of a “franja negra” or “black belt” policy that the black-majority regions of Camagüey and Oriente had the right to self determination, and (3) fierce (though short-lived) support of Afro-Cuban immigrant workers during the nationalist tide of the Revolution of 1933. I demonstrate that these positions were developed as part of wider transnational dialogues taking place across the Americas. Ultimately, while the party made strides in the number of Afro-Cuban and antillano workers joining its ranks, its approach to the “Negro Question” met with mixed results as it confronted Cuban Nationalism and as the Third Period ebbed into the Popular Front. Nevertheless, this era fused the struggle for black liberation and the fight against imperialism in a way that would resonate for decades, surfacing most prominently again in the Tricontinentalist movement.
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