Artist – Alejandro Anreus
“A Brief History of Cuba #1”, 2004
Mixed media on wood panels



On view September 17 – December 31, 2015
Main Library, 2nd Floor Gallery

curated by Ingrid Betancourt


New Jersey is home to the second-largest Cuban population in the United States. The area of Union City and West New York came to be known as “Havana on the Hudson” in the late 70s and 80s. Today, the once-heavy Cuban influence in New Jersey is beginning to wane as the community ages and moves to Florida, and other Latino immigrants from Central and South America pour into the state. 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 examines the roles of women, the arts, religion, political culture, and the effect of exile itself in the community’s immigrant experience—as well as the fact that, contrary to a popular misconception, Cubans in New Jersey have never been a monolithic group.


Beyond Exile traces the Cuban community’s rapid evolution from 1960s political exiles fleeing Castro’s revolution to its contemporary Cuban-American senatorial successes, prosperity, and political power.

The exhibit includes a selection of works by Cuban-American artists, photographs, and historical maps of La Habana and vintage Cuban postcards from the Newark Public Library’s Special Collections Division.

The Newark Public Library is located at 5 Washington Street on Washington Park in downtown Newark’s growing cultural complex. The exhibition is open during regular library hours, Monday through Saturday, with free admission. Group visits and more details are readily available by calling the Sala Hispanoamericana at the Library: 973–733–7772.


•September 17 • Thursday, 6 pm • Centennial Hall
Beyond Exile: Cubans in New Jersey

Lisandro Perez

Sociologist, scholar and author, Lisandro Pérez will present the keynote address at the opening of the 2015 Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Dr. Pérez has devoted his career to the study of Cuba, with particular attention to the Cuban presence in the United States. A faculty member for over two decades at the Florida International University, he founded and, for fifteen years, directed the Cuban Research Institute. Dr. Pérez served as editor of the journal Cuban Studies, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, from 1999 to 2004. The Legacy of Exile: Cubans in the United States is just one of his numerous publications about Cuba and Cuban Americans. Dr. Pérez is currently 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.

This event is cosponsored by the Friends of the HRIC.


•September 26 • Saturday, 2 pm • Centennial Hall
The History of Cuba in 12 Songs

Gema Corredera

Miami-based singer, producer, musicologist and guitarist Gema Corredera has been called “the quintessential vocalist of the Cuban post ‘Filin’ generations.” She woos her audiences with an astonishing vocal range and a versatile interpretative style. Whether you are among the world audiences just getting to know her musical talent or among the Cuba-philes already in the know, once you’ve been touched by Gema Corredera’s performance, the songs, the lyrics and the music will remain imprinted in your mind and in your soul. In this concert she takes the audience on a soulful journey through Cuba’s musical heritage via 12 of the most emblematic songs of every genre: guaracha, bolero, rumba and son montuno.

What they are saying about Gema Corredera–
“master vocalist” – Latin Jazz Network

“…a quietly confident and prodigious musical talent. Her velvety voice has some of the burnished golden tones of a trumpet or saxophone, but can also take on a poignant, silvery harmonic sharpness. She sings with supple, beautifully defined rhythm…” – The Miami Herald

This event is cosponsored by Rutgers University Libraries as part of the ‘Latino Americans: 500 Years of History’ grant project.

October 17 • Saturday, 2 pm • Auditorium TO BE RESCHEDULED
Cuban–Americans: Exile, Memory and Change


After more than a half-century of hostility, the United States reopened its embassy in Havana earlier this summer, and Cuba raised a flag outside its embassy in Washington. The New Latinos — the fourth episode of the award-winning PBS documentary series Latino-Americans: 500 Years of History — shines a light on the first large-scale wave of Cuban immigration to the United States in the early 1960s, after the Castro revolution.

Cuban Day Parade on Bergenline Avenue in Union City, New Jersey, June 6, 2010.
-Photo courtesy of Luigi Novi

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History supports the American public’s exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group. The award-winning, six-part documentary film chronicles Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. (Learn more about the series at www.pbs.org/latino-americans/en/.)

A panel discussion and Q&A session following the film screening brings the conversation up to 2015 with the reopening of U.S.-Cuban relations. Panelists: Aldo Lauria Santiago, historian of Latin America, the Caribbean and U.S. Latinos; and Danilo Figueredo, author of several books about Cuba and the Caribbean, including the award-winning Encyclopedia of Cuba.

This event is presented in partnership with Rutgers University Libraries as part of the ‘Latino Americans: 500 Years of History’ grant project.

•November 7 • Saturday, 2 pm • Centennial Hall
Defining La Regla Lucumí: Dispelling Misconceptions About Santeria

Diloggun (cowrie shell) reading
Elekes – beaded necklaces

A religion with roots in Western Africa and Cuba, Santería—more properly known as Regla de Ocha or Lucumí—is today practiced worldwide by people of all races. This program will explore the evolution of this religion in Cuba; its preservation as a legitimate system of belief and worship; and its connection to art, music and everyday life. Information will be presented with historical footage, visual images, storytelling (patakis – the sacred stories), ritual drumming and dance.


For additional information:
• Santería http://www.britannica.com/topic/Santeria

This event is presented in partnership with La Casa de Educación y Cultura Latina , Inc. of Perth Amboy, New Jersey.


•November 21 • Saturday, 2 pm • Auditorium
The Lost Child

Operation Peter Pan children arrive at Miami International Airport, 1960-62.
-Photo: Barry University

This short film offers insight into 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 Lost Child was produced by Gabriela Figueredo, a New Jersey Cuban-American filmmaker. Several former Operation Peter Pan children will be present to describe their experiences.

For additional information on Operation Peter Pan, visit:

Operation Pedro Pan – The exodus of 14,000 children from Cuba to the U.S.: December 1960 – October 1962
Cuba’s ‘Peter Pans’ Remember Childhood Exodus
Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc.


•December 5 • Saturday, 2 pm • Centennial Hall
Moving to the Rhythms of Cuba

Rhythms of Cuba

Cuban Music has been hugely popular and influential throughout the world. Enjoy a guided tour through Cuba’s rich and diverse dance and musical landscape, from early African percussion to modern-day Salsa and Timba.





October 5 through 9 • 10am – 5:30 pm • Auditorium
Domestic Violence Prevention Fair


La Casa de Don Pedro’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Program will be hosting a three-day Domestic Violence Prevention Fair in collaboration with the Newark Public Library and Union City Artist Collective. Information, presentations, workshops, art exhibition. Open to the public.

For more information contact Roxana Herrera, Domestic Violence Advocate, at 973-483-2703 Ext.2205 or rherrera@lacasanwk.org


October 24 • Saturday, 2 pm • Auditorium
Los Rieles del Tamarindo – El tiempo del Cóndor
By Fausto Romero


New Jersey-based author Fausto Romero weaves fantasy and history into a compelling novel based on the controversial life of Eloy Alfaro, President of the Republic of Ecuador at the turn of the 20th century. One of Alfaro’s notable accomplishments was the construction of a railroad linking the capital city of Quito in the Andes and the port city of Guayaquil on the Pacific coast. The narrative traces Eloy Alfaro’s life retrospectively, as he travels on the train back to his native home. The book presentation (in Spanish) will be followed by a Q&A session and signing.

Los Rieles del Tamarindo




All programs are free and open to the general public. For additional information please call the Sala Hispanoamericana at 973-733-7772 or email ibetancourt@npl.org.





Cubans in the United States – Fact Sheet

Hispanics of Cuban Origin in the United States, 2011

Ranking Latino Populations in the States

Statistical Portrait of Hispanics in the United States, 1980 – 2013

Smithsonian Education – Hispanic Heritage Teaching Resources


This year’s programs and exhibits were made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs and by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in these programs and exhibits do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

NJ_State_Council_on_the_Arts NJ Council for the Humanities

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History has been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.