Champion of the Patria: Kid Chocolate, Athletic Achievement, and the Significance of Race in Cuban National Aspiration, 1928-1938


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




As the country’s first boxing world champion, Afro-Cuban boxer Kid Chocolate was enormously popular among Cubans when he boxed professionally between 1928 and 1938. Indeed, he remains a national hero to this day. His career not only ignited a sense of national pride, but challenged racial ideologies of the time that cast African-descended peoples as incapable and inferior, allaying Cuban fears that the African heritage of their population doomed the newly independent nation to backwardness and poverty. This dissertation focuses on Cuban reactions to the career and success of Kid Chocolate in order to examine how athletic competition and racial ideology were implicated in the evolution of Cuban nationalism during the 1920s and 1930s.