Sarah McNamara on “Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South”

Sarah McNamara’s new book Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South is a deeply personal history of the Florida city where she grew up. In this episode of Writing Latinos, we talk about her Cuban ...

Sarah McNamara’s new book Ybor City: Crucible of the Latina South is a deeply personal history of the Florida city where she grew up. In this episode of Writing Latinos, we talk about her Cuban grandmother, the family storyteller and archivist of Ybor City’s Latino community. When McNamara was a little girl, her grandma brought her to the museum where she was a docent, vowing to tell stories about Ybor City that ran counter to the official version of local history told by the museum’s curators. The stories McNamara learned focused on a radical political activism in Ybor City that’s very different than the stories we often hear about Miami’s conservative exile community. Women led the charge and inspired McNamara to write the story of how Ybor City became one of the first places where a pan-ethnic Latino identity was forged. She places in an unfamiliar context some of the most familiar figures of Latino history: José Martí, Luisa Capetillo, Luisa Moreno, and Fidel Castro, all of whom spent time in Ybor City before they made names for themselves. What we learn about them is both new and surprising. Ybor City, published by The University of North Carolina Press, is McNamara’s first book. Her next book is about Latino electoral politics in Florida.

 

 

 

 

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View a transcript of the episode here.

 

 

 

 

 

Credits:

Writing Latinos is a production of Public Books. The show’s host is Geraldo Cadava, co-editor-in-chief of the magazine, and show’s producer is Tasha Sandoval. Our theme music is “City of Mirrors” by Dos Santos.

 

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By Geraldo Cadava
Feautre-image photograph: Sarah McNamara, courtesy of the author.