Building identity : The Miami Freedom Tower and the construction of a Cuban American identity in the post-Mariel era




Rafferty, Jennifer Ashley

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The Miami Freedom Tower was built during the 1920s and then used during the 1960s as a processing center for newly arriving Cuban refugees. This report will demonstrate the ways in which a particular, powerful segment of the Cuban American community used the tower as a means to establish for themselves a more positive, Euroamerican identity in the wake of the Mariel boatlift and in the context of national debates over immigration in the 1980s and 1990s. By first looking at the U.S. government’s establishment of Cuban American identity during the early Cold War as positive and ideologically aligned with the United States and then examining the ways in which that identity was challenged in the 1980s and 1990s, this report demonstrates that national and ethnic identities are constantly in flux. Further, it is necessary to break down and fully analyze the ways in which the identities of immigrant groups are framed both externally by the press, popular culture, and the government and internally by their own goals, conceptions, and histories.



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