For artist and ethicist Carlton Mackey, a photographer who operates the multi-media project “50 Shades of Black” which explores the spectrum of race and identity, the experience helped “awaken those parts of me that long to be inspired as an artist and didn’t go to sleep the whole time I was there,” he says.
“The journey gave me deeper insight, a new perspective, a deeper appreciation for complexity and a deeper sense of connectivity between my experience as a descendent of Africans who were enslaved in North America and those enslaved in other parts of the world,” he says.
More than one million Africans were enslaved in Cuba, and by some estimates, as much as 60 percent of the Cuban population is descended from them, explains Mackey, who has participated in previous Journeys trips to Jordan-Palestine-Israel and South Africa.
“To see and meet those people gave me a shared sense of struggle and enterprise and triumph,” he says. “It also gave me the ability to not take for granted that the way we see ourselves is not necessarily the way that we are seen by the rest of the world.”