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March 9, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

In-Person | Ninety Miles and a Lifetime Away: An Evening with David Powell


March 9, 2022
7:00 pm


Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, FL 33134 US
+ Google Map

Books & Books and FIU’s Cuban Research Institute present

An Evening with David Powell

in conversation with

Dr. Jorge Duany

Director of the Cuban Research Institute and Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Global & Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University.

 Ninety Miles and A Lifetime Away: Memories of Early Cuban Exile  

(University of Florida Press, $30)

Wednesday, March 9, 7 PM ET


About the Book:

Rare accounts of Cuban migration in the words of the exiles themselves

Bringing together an unprecedented number of extensive personal stories, this book shares the triumphs and heartbreaking moments experienced by some of the first Cubans to come to the United States after Fidel Castro took power in 1959. Ninety Miles and a Lifetime Away is a moving look inside fifteen years of migration that changed the two countries and transformed the lives of the people who found themselves separated from their homeland.

David Powell presents interviews with refugees who left Cuba between 1959 and the 1962 Missile Crisis, as well as those who embarked on the Freedom Flights of the late 1960s and early 1970s. During these years more than 600,000 Cubans migrated to the US, some by way of other countries and many arriving in Miami with only a few clothes and pocket money. In their own words, exiles describe why they left the island, how they prepared for departure, what situations they faced when they arrived in the US, and how they integrated into American life.

Offering historical background that illuminates this pivotal period in the context of the Cold War, Powell shows how the US government’s Cuban refugee assistance program had far-reaching effects on refugee policy, bilingual education, and child welfare programs. The testimonies in this book include new information about low-cost “Cuban Loans” that enabled young exiles to attend US colleges, preparing many to be builders and leaders in their adopted country today.

A powerful portrayal of the initial effects of a revolution that began a new era in Cuba’s relationship with the world, this book preserves rare accounts of the motivations and struggles of early Cuban exiles in the words of the emigres themselves, adding gripping detail to the history of the modern Cuban diaspora.

Publication of this work made possible by a Sustaining the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


About the Author:

DAVID POWELL: A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the Columbia Journalism School, David Powell worked as a reporter for ten years, most of that with the Associated Press in New York, Miami, and Tallahassee. After earning a law degree from Florida State University, he practiced law for thirty years. In his work and through civic organizations he met many Cuban Americans and was moved by the stories of their lives. He began recording interviews about their memories in 2016, first in Florida and then elsewhere. In 2021, the University of Miami acquired his interview recordings, transcripts, and workpapers for its Cuban Heritage Collection. Ninety Miles and a Lifetime Away: Memories of Early Cuban Exiles is his first book. He and his wife reside in Tallahassee, Florida.

About the Moderator:

JORGE DUANY is director of the Cuban Research Institute and professor of anthropology at Florida International University. He is the author of several books, including Un pueblo disperso: Dimensiones sociales y culturales de la diáspora cubana and Blurred Borders: Transnational Migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States.