Contact:	Suzanne Trimel				For Immediate Release
		(212) 854-5573				May 30, 1997


Columbia Professor Leads African-American Delegation To Cuba to Examine Race and Gender Issues

Professor Manning Marable of Columbia University will lead a delegation of African-American scholars, writers, artists and political activists to Cuba in June to examine race and gender issues, the introduction of a market economy and the politics of human rights and dissent in Cuban society. Professor Marable, director of Columbia's Institute for Research in African-American Studies, will head the 15-member fact-finding delegation that will travel for 9 days beginning June 3 for interviews and research in Havana and Santiago. In October, the delegation will present their findings in a symposium to be held at Columbia University. The group will travel without restrictions as guests of the Center for the Study of the Americas, said Professor Marable. "We will be able to talk with anyone and to establish our own itinerary," he added. Professor Marable noted that there is a long political, cultural and intellectual tradition of contacts between black Americans and the Cuban people, extending from the black abolitionist Frederick Douglas to contemporary activists in the black liberation movement. "Cuba has represented metaphorically the ability of an oppressed people to challenge imperialism and colonialism," he said. "In the political imagination of black America, Cuba represents the radical possibility of fundamental social change. One of the key questions now is -- What does Cuba represent for black America in this period of political transition?" The delegation, according to Professor Marable, will examine the experiences of Afro-Cubans in politics and society, the images of race and "blackness" in Cuban culture and how race has been constructed and restructured since the revolution. In addition, the group's research will focus on the changing role of women in Cuban society, the economic transformation of Cuba since the end of the cold war, including the introduction of a market economy, the growth of class stratification and the elimination of social guarantees of employment. Further, the researchers will look at the politics of human rights, democracy and political freedom. "The Cuban experiment with socialism raises a number of theoretical questions about the difficulties of social transformation in multiracial societies," said Professor Marable. "How successful has Cuba been in uprooting racism and sexism? Are the values of a socialist society possible in a transition to a market economy?" The group will meet with academics, writers, artists and government officials during its trip. In addition to Professor Marable, members of the Columbia faculty who will join the delegation include Michael Eric Dyson and Mary Pattillo, and Jewelnel Davis, Columbia University Chaplain. 5.30.97 19,144