Dance or Festival, Havana, Cuba, ca. 1866

The author, who visited Cuba around 1866, writes of African-born enslaved people in Havana and their Sunday festivals. “And as all secret assemblies are against the law, these people meet in rooms together, which they call cabildos, or assembly rooms … The visitor need not have the slightest hesitation in entering, for he will always be treated with great respect by those present … who are only too happy to have [an] audience”. Note musical instruments, banjo, drum.

Dance or Festival, Havana, Cuba, ca. 1866; Image Reference LCP-05, as shown on, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.