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News, views and events detailing the Black presence in the Americas.

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Racial tension in Maine

The New York Times has a report on how threats made to the state's N.A.A.C.P. chapter by a white man who believes that Maine should be a white state, have been taken seriously.

These kind of "remarks are not unheard of in Maine, the nation’s whitest state, which has fewer black residents — 10,918 in 2006, or less than 1 percent of the population, according to the Census Bureau — than some neighborhoods of Chicago or New York. But nor are they usually so blunt. The chapter has since held meetings at police stations and canceled its annual Kwanzaa celebration, which normally draws people from up and down the coast of Maine," reports Abby Goodnough in the article, "Threat in Maine, the Whitest State, Shakes Local N.A.A.C.P."

" 'This man’s threat was shocking in its specificity and the anger it contained,' said Thomas Harnett, the assistant attorney general for civil rights education and enforcement. 'It’s not often you see something articulated so clearly and so filled with acknowledged prejudice.'

"Still, Mr. Harnett said his office received 250 to 300 reports of bias incidents every year from around the state, most of them racially motivated."

6:45 pm est          Comments

Peru earthquake: for Afro-descendants, the slow road to recovery

"And then suddenly, you start seeing them, the little tents which were distributed by the international aid agencies immediately after the earthquake," Cecile Clerc reports for Minority Rights Group International in an article about how Afro Peruvians have been struggling  to survive now several months after an 8.0-level Richter scale earthquake devastated the country on Wednesday, August 15, 2007.

"Green, purple, cream ... they add touches of colors to a landscape which otherwise would look very desolate. Around us, lots of houses are still destroyed. Gravel and stones are blocking streets and the church, the pillar of the community, has not been reopened. Entire families still live in tents, often installed in the garden of what used to be their house. They have managed to save some pieces of furniture, clothes, pots & pans and are trying to recreate a home.... 

"There is a strong feeling among the villagers that they were not...given priority because of their ethnic origin. They also strongly criticized the national government for not offering more long-term support towards the reconstruction of the village."

10:16 pm est          Comments

100th birthday of Juan Pablo Sojo, creator of “afrovenezonalidad”
By Karen Juanita Carrillo

For the past several weeks, residents of Venezuela’s town of Curiepe, Barlovento have been celebrating the life of one of their favorite sons, the writer Juan Pablo Sojo.

This past November residents of Curiepe established a committee to coordinate the 100th year anniversary of Sojo’s birth, which took place on December 23, 1907.  Since November, Curiepe has been the site of a series of conferences, with scholars talking about the lasting impact of Sojo’s work.

In novels like Noche Buena Negra, and in his book of essays, Temas y Apuntes Afrovenezolanos, Sojo tried to capture the social and political essence of life in the Barlovento region.   With his book of essays, Sojo became the first to coin the term afrovenezolano – or Afro Venezuelan – back in the year 1943.

5:58 pm est          Comments

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In partnership with:
LUNDU Center for Afro-Peruvian Advancement 



By Lisa Scott


Interviews with over 30 Jamaican immigrants on their pre-migratory perceptions of New York and England

 Click here to view and purchase the book.



by Miriam Jimenéz Román  (Editor), Juan Flores (Editor) 


The book focuses attention on a large, vibrant, yet oddly invisible community in the United States: people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. The presence of Afro-Latin@s in the United States (and throughout the Americas) belies the notion that Blacks and Latin@s are two distinct categories or cultures. Afro-Latin@s are uniquely situated to bridge the widening social divide between Latin@s and African Americans. At the same time, their experiences reveal pervasive racism among Latin@s and ethnocentrism among African Americans. Offering insight into Afro-Latin@ life and new ways to understand culture, ethnicity, nation, identity, and antiracist politics, The Afro-Latin@ Reader presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latin@s in the United States. It addresses history, music, gender, class, and media representations in more than sixty selections, including scholarly essays, memoirs, newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, short stories, and interviews.

 Click here to view and purchase the book.



By Karen Juanita Carrillo



The proof of any group's importance to history is in the detail, a fact made plain by this informative book's day-by-day documentation of the impact of African Americans on life in the United States.  One of the easiest ways to grasp any aspect of history is to look at it as a continuum. African American History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events provides just such an opportunity.

 Click here to view and purchase the book.



by Karen Juanita Carrillo


The View from Chocó: The Afro-Colombian past, their lives in the present, and their hopes for the future is an introduction to the lives of Blacks in Colombia. Afro-Colombians live in a resource-rich yet remote region of Colombia. They only recently won recognition as one of that nation's distinct ethnic groups. But Colombia's on-going civil war has led many Afro-Colombians to reach even farther than their nation's borders for recognition: many have made their way to the United States as refugees and as political activists working for peace in their homeland. The View from Chocó introduces the lives and struggles of a too-long neglected community of Colombian Blacks. 

 Click here to view and purchase the book.





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