DETROIT – To many African-Americans, Fidel Castro was not the brutal revolutionary dictator who plunged Cuba into economic ruin and held the Caribbean island in an iron grip. He was a freedom fighter who cared about improving the lives of all Cubans, regardless of race.
Castro, who died Friday at age 90, sought out black leaders. He met with Malcolm X in 1960 in Harlem and had a close relationship with South Africa's Nelson Mandela.
Sam Riddle is political director of the Michigan Chapter of the National Action Network. He says many Cubans are as black as anyone "who worked the fields of Mississippi or lived in Harlem."
Riddle says the dictator's efforts to achieve racial equality mean he "will never be a monster" to his many admirers.