Audio Recording of Interview
Domingo recounts the struggles of his family’s life in Communist Cuba, experiencing religious discrimination and educaitonal difficulties, and their subsequent immigration to the United States. He primarily focuses on finding community and both the academic and cultural adjustments of being a Cuban teenager in the United States amongst racism and discrimination.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Domingo Bravo
Location: Interviewee Miami, FL; Interviewer Castle Pines, Colorado
Summary: Domingo recounts the struggles of his family’s life in Communist Cuba, experiencing religious discrimination and educaitonal difficulties, and their subsequent immigration to the United States. He primarily focuses on finding community and both the academic and cultural adjustments of being a Cuban teenager in the United States amongst racism and discrimination.
Topics: Childhood, politics, education, family, religion, conflict journey, immigration process, housing, employment, race, discrimination, race tensions, violence
Section 1: (00:00-6:32)
Childhood, politics- Born in Cuba as it was turning into a communist country under Fidel Castro. Talks about censorship and difficulty of the food card program.
Education, family - Describes education style as similar to the Soviet Union. Tested in youth for aptitude towards certain fields and sent down a certain educational path as a result. Two family member on Domingo’s father’s side was chosen for the engineering path and sent to the Soviet Union, didn’t come back until after college. Disconnect from family.
Section 2: (6:33-12:54)
Politics, religion, family, education - Domingo’s father was very against communist culture, and both Domingo’s father and mother were quite religious. Can’t really be religious in that society. Domingo got tested when young and was chosen to be sent to Soviet Union, but his father didn’t want this.
Conflict journey- Applied to leave Cuba. There was a program with the United States called Freedom Flights. Once you applied, your name was published in the newspaper, making you an outcast. Took a year and a half before they were selected. At airport, told that they could only bring what was on them, but they also took the jewelry his parents had on them (which they had been planning on selling in US).
Immigration process - Landed in Miami and had family in the US that could be responsible for them, so they didn’t get sent to a refugee camp. Taken to the Freedom Tower (according to Domingo, the place where a lot of Cubans got registered). Then, American Cross and Catholic Services gave them some necessities.
Section 3: (12:54-19:36)
Employment, politics, language- Stayed at first with family from his mom’s side. His father mowed lawns for a company, and then worked at a factory. Kept going to work, even during a union strike, didn’t understand why people would strike if they had a stable job. His father didn’t know English well, just to get by. After about two years, his father’s friend helped them buy a starter home in a black neighborhood.
Race, discrimination, housing - Remembers with his father earlier when they were trying to find somewhere to rent and still living with mother’s family. Later, when he knew English, Domingo realized that beneath a certain vacancy sign had no to renting to Cubans or Black people
Section 4: (19:36-29:56)
Childhood, race tensions, violence - Parents bought a house in a Black inner-city neighborhood. Domingo says he stuck out as a Cuban and was bullied and beat up because he feels that he out-performed other students.
Education - After two years, moved to a Cuban neighborhood. Their neighborhood’s schools were very crowded, but in Coral Gables (wealthy section of Miami), they needed more students. Domingo, among some others from his neighborhood, ended up getting bused to this other high school.
Education, language, employment - Domingo tried out for the debate team, but they laughed. Debate teacher called him in and told him that he had potential, but his English needed to improve. Told him to take some summer classes. Needed to consult with parents, couldn’t work as a migrant worker if he took summer classes. They agreed to let him take the classes, and he greatly improved. Got into debate the next year, was also in the school’s band.
Section 5: (29:57 - )
Education, discrimination - Met with guidance counselor senior year and realized he was ranked quite high in the school. School was set up so students went to university, but Cubans went to technical school. Guidance counselor told him that he needed to pick technical school and that he wasn’t meant for college. However, one of his friend’s mom’s helped him pick out schools and see which had financial aid.
Education, personal finance, family - Went to Florida State, first child to go to college in US. Relatives were all very proud and would send him letters to motivate him and put in whatever money they could. Domingo had to eat pasta for lunch and dinner before he could get other jobs through college.