MIRAMAR — Claudia Cumberbatch Jones, a native of Trinidad, was active in the Communist Party in the United States. A talented writer and speaker, she traveled throughout America lecturing and organizing.
In her book, Left of Karl Marx, The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones, author Carole Boyce-Davies assesses the activism, writing and legacy of Jones (1915–1964), a pioneering Afro-Caribbean intellectual, dedicated communist and feminist.
The book, currently on Essence magazine’s bestseller list for paperback nonfiction, will be among those featured at the Caribbean Arts and Book Fair on Friday, June 20 and Saturday, June 21 at Miramar City Hall.
Boyce-Davies, a professor of English and African-New World Studies at Florida International University, said the book fair’s theme, Readership and Transitional Citizenship, conveys the idea that many people from the Caribbean have made contributions throughout the world.
“The theme addresses the creation of a certain Diaspora citizenship which is transnational as we live in more than one location or have allegiances to more than one nation,’’ said Boyce-Davies, who was born in Trinidad. “And so, the idea of Caribbean-American already carries in its meaning the idea of transnational citizenship.”
The art and book fair, in which Boyce-Davies will participate, will feature a Caribbean art exhibition titled “Caribbeana.’’ Also included will be international writers and spoken word artists Marcia Douglas, Phillip St. Hill, Joan Cartwright, Philip Peters and Gerard Férère, among others.
The Saturday celebrations will commence with a lecture on the Caribbean and Afro-Latin migration experiences from main guest speaker Dr. Monica Jardine from Guyana.
Those who attend the event will be exposed to the worldwide contributions of people from the Caribbean.
This year’s ceremony will address the important yet controversial issue of some American perceptions of Caribbean immigrants.
Fair organizers say that some African-Americans have expressed the belief that immigrants, both Caribbean and non-Caribbean, are taking away the small, hard-earned benefits granted to them after years of the civil rights struggle.
Glenn Joseph, founder of the Caribbean-American Heritage Foundation, said, “There is the perception that our people would come and take away jobs from Americans, and ill feelings would manifest in many areas such as the workplace. Hosting the Caribbean-American Heritage month gives us an opportunity to commemorate our heritage without animosity.”
The Caribbean-American Heritage Foundation, Inc. will host the fair in collaboration with the Broward County Library system; the Florida African Studies Consortium; the Institute for Caribbean Studies; Caribbean Airlines; and Munro & Associates Inc., a company that helps manufacturers maximize profits.
Caribbean-American Heritage Month seeks to recognize the historic and distinct relationship between Caribbean immigrants and their descendants, and the people of the United States.
President George W. Bush signed a proclamation that made Caribbean-American Heritage Month official on June 5, 2006. The month-long commemoration honors the many contributions of Caribbean-Americans such as Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and slain human rights activist Malcolm X, to name a few.
Of the art and book fair in Miramar, Joseph said, “Having such an event is important as part of the education and commemoration. It would also allow the formation of alliances across cultural, geographical and social length as we are using this as a tool to create favorable disposition among the region.”
Photo: Carole Boyce-Davies
IF YOU GO:
What: Caribbean Arts and Book Fair
When: Friday June 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, June 21 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Miramar City Hall, 2300 Civic Center Drive, Miramar
Contact: Glenn Joseph, founder of the Caribbean-American Heritage Foundation, 754-224-8150