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The Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies is a university-based program that provides professional development opportunities for mid-career, black journalists and practical news gathering experiences for black journalism students.

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IFAJS Special Report:
Cuba in Black and White

Giving black journalists a chance to be heard

By Tonyaa J. Weathersbee
Senior Project Manager,
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies

During a May meeting at the Fernando Ortiz Foundation in Havana, its president, Heriberto Espino made an admission, followed by an explanation – and then a plea.

Racism is indeed a problem for black Cubans, he said. But they want to solve that problem within their own system. "We want to change it," Espino told a group of black journalists from the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies. "And we want you to help us."

Being there to hear Espino's plea was a moment that highlighted the institute's main purpose: to give black journalists and journalism students the opportunity to tell the story of people throughout the diaspora– something that is still a pretty rare experience in American journalism.

For more than a decade the institute has pursued this mission. It has dispatched teams of black professional and student journalists to Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Colombia, Brazil, Grenada, Panama, Barbados, Canada and Mexico to report stories that have been largely ignored by mainstream media.

Much of this work, which has given the participating journalists a greater sense of self-worth in the journalism arena, can be found on the institute's Web site (

This special report on racism in Cuba is the most recent example of the ground-breaking work the institute does – work that gives black journalists an opportunity to cover stories long ignored by mainstream media and that provide their voice an opportunity to be heard.


Race Relations in Cuba: Stuck in Time

By Dalia Colon
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies


Cuba: A proud stop on one woman’s trek through the African Diaspora

By Joy Sewing
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies

HAVANA - What I first learned about the African Diaspora came from myjourney to La Costa Chica – a city in southern Mexico where ancestors of slaves once slept on dirt floors under thatched roofs barely shielding them from the skies. 

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Racism in Cuba: Debated by blacks here, attacked by blacks in U.S.

By DeWayne Wickham
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies

HAVANA — Nancy Morejon says she doesn't want to get into a war of words with Cornel West. While all-out combat might be avoidable, a bruising skirmish has already occurred.

In many ways, Morejon and West are kindred souls.

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Family love, not celebrities, shape life for black Cuban woman

By Kelcie McCrae
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies

HAVANA - Patricia Camacho Centelles is 18. She lives here in Cuba's bustling capital and despite the isolation of the half-century old U.S. embargo, she enjoys much of what many young black Americans enjoy.

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When it comes to art, Cuba takes its cues from Africa

By Malcolm S. Eustache
Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies

HAVANA - Encircling the wrist of Gisela Arandia, a writer and researcher on

Afro-Cuban issues, is a yellow beaded bracelet and a bright blue one. A string of cowries adorn her neck.

Draped around the neck of Cuban historian Tomas Fernandez Robaina is a black necklace.

But Arandia's and Fernandez's jewelry is tied more to symbolism than style. They represent their allegiance to the orishas – deities of the Yoruba of West Africa.

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Index of IFAJS Special Report: Cuba in Black and White

Index of Black-White Achievement Gap Stories

Richard Prince