Beyond Exile: Cubans in New Jersey exhibit presented by Newark Public Library

The Newark Public Library’s annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration will feature an exhibit Beyond Exile: Cubans in New Jersey and a series of complementary public programs at the Main Library on 5 Washington Street.

New Jersey is home to the second-largest Cuban population in the United States; the area of Union City and West New York was nicknamed “Havana on the Hudson” in the late 70s and 80s. Beyond Exile illustrates why Cubans were drawn to the Garden State during the second half of the 20th century and how— as they built strong, intimate, and vibrant communities—they transformed the culture and economies of many towns in Northern New Jersey.

The exhibit also examines the roles of women, the arts, religion, political culture, and the effect of exile itself in the community’s immigrant experience. It includes a selection of works by Cuban-American artists, historical maps of La Habana, photographs, and vintage Cuban postcards from the Library’s Special Collections Division. The exhibit will be on view in the Main Library’s 2nd Floor Gallery during regular Library hours, Monday, Friday, Saturday: 9:00 to 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. from September 17 through December 31, 2015.

Sociologist Lisandro Pérez will present the keynote address at the opening reception on September 17 at 6 pm in Centennial Hall. Dr. Pérez has devoted his career to the study of Cuba, with particular attention to the Cuban presence in the United States. He is Professor and Chair of the Department of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and is the author of The Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States.

Additional programs include a concert, The History of Cuba in 12 Songs, on September 26 at 2 p.m., and a film screening of The New Latinos followed by a panel discussion on October 17 at 2 p.m. Both programs are cosponsored by Rutgers University Libraries as part of the ‘Latino Americans: 500 Years of History’ grant project.

A lecture and demonstration, Defining La Regla Lucumí: Dispelling Misconceptions about Santeria, on November 7 at 2 p.m. will explore the evolution of Santería in Cuba, its preservation as a legitimate system of belief and worship, and its connection to art, music and everyday life. This event is presented in partnership with La Casa de Educación y Cultura Latina, Inc. of Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

On November 21 at 2 p.m., viewers of the short film The Lost Child will follow the personal journey of one of the more than 14,000 children sent from Cuba to the United States by their parents in the early 1960s as part of what came to be known as “Operation Peter Pan”—the largest recorded exodus of unaccompanied minors in the western hemisphere. The series of programs ends on December 5 at 2 p.m. with Moving to the Rhythms of Cuba, a guided tour through Cuba’s rich and diverse dance and musical landscape, from early African percussion to modern-day Salsa and Timba.

La Casa de Don Pedro’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Program will host a Domestic Violence Prevention Fair in collaboration with the Newark Public Library and Union City Artist Collective. The event will be held on the 4th floor of the Library on October 5 through October 7 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

On October 24 at 2 p.m., join author Fausto Romero for a book presentation (in Spanish) of the novel Los Rieles del TamarindoEl tiempo del Cóndor followed by a discussion and signing.

The Newark Public Library is located at 5 Washington Street. All programs are free and open to the public. More details about the exhibit and programs are available at Please call the Sala Hispanoamericana at 973–733–7772 or email for further information or for group visits.

Find the above-noted events on here on’s calendar.

Featured image used via Creative Commons license.