Cultural Congress of Havana 1967-1968 Archive Collection

May 19, 2021

In 1968, John La Rose, co-founder of the George Padmore Institute (GPI), attended the Cultural Congress of Havana in Cuba. He was joined by fellow members of the Caribbean Artists Movement, Andrew Salkey and CLR James. Over 400 intellectuals from more than 70 countries took part in the Congress to discuss problems related to Asia, Africa and Latin America. The closing speech was given by Fidel Castro.

The theme was 'Colonialism and Neo-colonialism in the Cultural Development of Peoples', and over 150 papers were presented, with topics falling under five Commissions. La Rose, Salkey and James attended Commission Three: The Responsibility of Intellectuals with Respect to the Problems of the Underdeveloped World. They debated the basic assumptions of the Congress, with La Rose proposing that the term 'Latin America' should be abolished where it was applied to a cultural definition of peoples in the South American continent, Central America and the Caribbean.

The material held in the archive was collected by John La Rose. It includes documents he received prior to arriving in Cuba, extracts of the papers delivered during the Congress and additional material such as newspapers, photographs and leaflets from cultural organisations in Havana.

To find out more about the Congress and other activities La Rose, Salkey and James took part in, visit the archive page. Information on the Caribbean Artists Movement can be found here also.

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Part of the Reaching New Generations project funded by Arts Council England