Juan Francisco Manzano (), an urban slave who taught himself to read and write, and who ultimately achieved fame as a poet in Cuba’s colonial. Study of Cuban-born Manzano’s memoirs offers a contrast between the life of Suárez y Romero’s rural sugarmill slaves and that of an urban slave in Havana. Juan Francisco Manzano (–) was born a slave in the Matanzas Province of Cuba. . Web. 23 April ^ Shulman, Ivan A. The Autobiography of a Slave: Autobiografía De Un Esclavo. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.

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Juan Francisco Manzano’s Autobiografía de un esclavo : Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo – oi

Don’t have an account? In this exceptional text—the only surviving Black memoir completed during the slavery period—Manzano documents his living circumstances as a house slave, a refined and self-educated Black Creole who could read and write, who painted portraits, and who even became an accomplished poet. In his biased analysis of Black Creole cultures, however, Manzano fails to explore slave traditions, and he chooses not to offer a full picture of the horrors of the mistreatment of slaves, particularly the field workers on sugarcane plantations.


He prefers, instead, to remain associated with mainstream culture within his self-description as a learned Black who speaks and writes in standard Spanish, a fact that separated him from other, raw slaves.

He proudly becomes a mulato fino—a refined mulatto, a type that Costumbrista writing often reflects in Black male and female urban characters.

Although his close association with a White power structure might have caused his memoirs to lose efficacy as an abolitionist text, aitobiografia is today an important document, an example of a Black’s self-depiction in response to literary canons and to social limitations upon the incorporation of Blacks into Cuban mainstream society.

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From Plantations to the Slums. Print Save Cite Email Share. Costumbrista Essays on Blacks: Afro-Cuban Costumbrismo Author s: If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.