About the Collection

The Special Collections department at Florida International University (FIU) holds pictures that were taken by Kenneth (Allegro) Shartz aka Fr. Cyril Shartz between 1994 and 1996 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he worked as an English teacher, through the World Relief Organization. The collection is composed of 433 digitized photographs that detail the daily life of the refugees. Images also include pictures of the refugees, the humanitarian workers, the detention camps, the wildlife, and the naval base.

At the peak of the economic, political and social problems in Cuba in 1994, many Cubans set out in homemade vessels in an attempt to reach the United States. These people are often referred to as the boat people or rafters. Unsure of how to handle the large migration of refugees, the American government decided to send the rafters to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Finally in 1995, the Clinton administration decided that 23,000 Cubans would be allowed to enter the United States.

About the Course

Writing and New Media is a course in the English Department at Florida International University that focuses on composing for the web, using established web-based technologies. Under the direction of Professor Andy Strycharski, in the Fall 2013 course, the class will collaborate with the Special Collections and University Archives in the Green Library at FIU to create a digital library collection and an online exhibit.

The photograph series was digitized by FIU Special Collections and the ENC 3416 students will work with the materials to enhance the metadata describing the collection using an online interface. These descriptions will enable users to more easily find the materials in the digital collection. In the second phase of the project, the students will create an online blog which will describe the situation in Cuba, the US Policy and life in the Guantanamo Naval Base during the peak of the crisis.