When thousands of working-class Barbadians left for Cuba in search of better economic opportunities during the early twentieth century, most of them did so with the expectation that they would eventually return to their home. They maintained many of the cultural traditions of their homeland, and they immersed their Cuba-born children in Barbadian culture by exposing them to the type of education which they themselves had received in Barbados and teaching them English to prepare them for life “back home”.
Although many of the migrants were not able to achieve this dream of returning home, some of their children and grandchildren have managed to retrace their ancestors’ journey and find their roots in Barbados. This “reverse migration” is driven as much by economics as by sentiment for the ancestral homeland. The basis of that sentiment has sometimes been called into question, since these “CuBajans” have not always been regarded as true Barbadians by some among the local population.
The CuBajans themselves have a sense of pride in what they have been able to achieve in Cuba, and they count themselves fortunate in having two homelands. With relatives still in Cuba, they maintain links through frequent communication, remittances and travel back to the island. In A Return to Roots: “CuBajans” in Barbados, these migrants tell their own stories through oral testimonies, which Sharon Milagro Marshall frames within the context of Barbadian and Cuban history.