Michele Reid-Vazquez

  • Associate Professor of Africana Studies


4156 Wesley W. Posvar Hall

Curriculum Vitae



  • BA, Emory University, Music and Spanish
  • MA, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Latin American and Caribbean History
  • M.M., University of Maryland, College Park, Ethnomusicology and Jazz Studies
  • PhD, University of Texas at Austin at Austin, Latin American and Caribbean History

Michele Reid-Vazquez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research and teaching specializations are the African Diaspora in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Atlantic World, and Afro-Latinx History in the U.S. She serves as director of the Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latino Studies Initiative, the Afro-Cuban History and Culture study abroad program for undergraduates, and the Afro-Latin American Studies Graduate Seminar in Cuba, and as Faculty Advisory for ADD+Verse Poesia. Dr. Reid-Vazquez is the author of The Year of the Lash: Free People of Color in Cuba and the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World (2011). In addition, she has published articles in the following edited volumes and journals: Breaking the Chains, Making the Nation: The Black Cuban Fight for Freedom and Equality, 1812-1912 (f2019), Africans to Colonial Spanish America; Documenting Latin America: Gender and Race, Empire and Nation; The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World; and the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History. She is writing her second monograph, Black Mobilities in the Age of Revolution: Comparative Politics, Migration, and Freedom in the Caribbean, which examines black diasporic movements and networks forged through the themes of liberty, equality, counter-discourse, and armed resistance. She has two additional projects-in-progress: El Caribe in the Rust Belt, which examines issues of race, gender, culture, and identity among Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois, and Family History, Memory, and Migration from the Caribbean to South Carolina, 1791-1877 which traces the racially mixed Pezant Family and their migration from Haiti and settlement in Cuba and Charleston in the wake of the Haitian Revolution, Cuba’s La Escalera slave rebellions, and debates over slavery and freedom in the ages of revolution and emancipation.

Recent/Select Awards

Pitt Momentum Funds Teaming Grant, “Transnational Dialogues in Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx Studies” for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years. Read more about the first Pitt Momentum Awards >>>

Seed Project Award, Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latino Studies Initiative, Office of the Chancellor, 2018-2020. Read more about first Pitt Seed Project Awards >> 

Summer Fellowship, Lapidus Center for the Study of Transatlantic Slavery, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 2019.

Central Research Development Fund, Office of the Chancellor, 2019-2020.

Making Advances: Sex, Gender and the Politics of Images Workshop, Collecting Knowledge Pittsburgh, February 2018.

Faculty Fellow, Humanities Center, 2017-2018.

Recent Presentations

Exhibition Organizer, “Afro-Latinx Perspectives: Race, Representations, and Society,” Student Research Poster Exhibit, Race, Gender, and Representation in the Africana World Series, University of Pittsburgh, December 2019.

Invited Speaker, “What You Should Know About Afro-Latinxs,” Pitt Bridges Program, Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, University of Pittsburgh, September 2019.

Invited Speaker, “From the Year of the Lash in Cuba to El Caribe in the Rust Belt,” University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, April 2019.

Conference Chair and Organizer, “Representations of Afrolatinidad,” Afro-Latin American and Afro-Latinx Studies Initiative, University of Pittsburgh, April 2019. Keynote Speakers: Dr. Juliet Hooker, Brown University and Dr. Nancy Mirabal, University of Maryland.

Invited Speaker, “Countering Disposability: Black Mobility and Resistance in the Age of Revolution,” Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar Post-Emancipation Forms of Control in the Americas, Pennsylvania State University, October 2018.

Invited Speaker, “On-the-Ground Perspectives of Cuba,” Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh, September 2018.

Panelist, “Networks of Liberty and Equality in the Revolutionary Caribbean – Nicolas Pinero in Venezuela, Cuba, and Jamaica,” Association of Caribbean Historians Conference, Barbados, June 2018.

Webinars and Podcasts

Panelist, “The Toxic Recipe of American Inequity,” Webinar Town Hall Series: This is Not “Normal”: Allyship and Advocacy in the Age of COVID-19, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, July 8, 2020. https://www.pittwire.pitt.edu/news/toxic-recipe-american-inequity

Interview, “A Reevaluation of Roberto Clemente,” Ten Count Podcast, Season 1, Episode 1, June 16, 2020.


  • Afro-Latin America
  • Afro-Latinos in the U.S.
  • Caribbean History
  • Caribbean Identities: Historical, National, and Transnational Perspectives
  • History of Caribbean Slavery
  • Global Diasporas: Contemporary African and Caribbean Migration


Study Abroad in Cuba

  • Undergraduate - Afro-Cuban History and Culture Program
  • Graduate - Afro-Latin American Studies Graduate Seminar in Cuba


Recent Publications


The Year of the Lash: Free People of Color in Cuba and the Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World, Athens: University of Georgia Press, Early American Places Series, 2011. 


"Blood, Fire, and Freedom: Enslaved Women and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Cuba,”– under revision for Rutledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories, Janel Hobson, editor, New York: Routledge – forthcoming 2021.

“Caribbean-Atlantic Discourses of Race, Equality, and Humanity in the Age of Revolution,” Journal of Black Studies, Volume 50, Issue 6 (May 2019), 507- 527..

“Formidable Rebels:  Enslaved and Free Women of Color in Cuba’s Conspiracy of La Escalera,  1843-1844,” Breaking the Chains, Making the Nation: The Black Cuban Fight for Freedom and Equality, 1812-1912, Aisha Finch and Fannie Rushing, editors, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2019, 158-177.

“Tensions of Race, Gender and Midwifery in Colonial Cuba,” Africans to Colonial Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora, Rachel O’Toole, Sherwin Bryant, and Ben Vinson III, editors. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2012, 186-205.

“Empire, Loyalty, and Race: Militiamen of Color in Nineteenth-Century Cuba,” Documenting Latin America: Gender and Race, Empire and Nation, Volume 1, Erin E. O’Connor and Leo J. Garofalo, editors, Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010, 498-513.

“The Yoruba in Cuba: Origins, Identities, and Transformations,” The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World, Toyin Falola and Matt Childs, editors. Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 2005, 111-129.

“Protesting Service: Free Black Response to Cuba’s Reestablished Militia of Color, 1854-1865,” Special Issue, “Introducing the “New” African Diasporic Military History in Latin America,” Ben Vinson III and Stewart King, editors, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History 5, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 1-22.