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

This website is designed to keep you up to date on Life in the Black Americas.  

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Latin / World Beat: Omar Sosa

"For years, Afro-Cuban pianist Omar Sosa has explored the links between Africa and Latin America, his jazz and Cuban music Afreecanos.jpginfused with motherland influences," notes a story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

"While many of his earlier albums were groundbreaking, Sosa's latest CD is perhaps his best African-inspired work.

"With Afreecanos (Otá Records), his 18th release as a bandleader, Sosa has delivered a masterful recording that is both an ancestral and modern take on Africa's inspiring musical heritage."

11:16 am est          Comments

AKA’s Alpha chapter celebrates 100 years
By Karen Juanita Carrillo

The African-American Greek letter sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha is celebrating its centennial in the year 2008. 

The organization’s year of remembrances kicked off this past January 12-15 with commemorations at Washington, D.C.’s Howard University.  It will include several more eve164_6478.JPGnts this summer when the organization holds its 63rd biennial Boulé in D.C. from July 11 to 18, 2008.

Alpha Kappa Alpha International President Barbara A. McKinzie conducted interviews about the sorority's centennial

Some 1500 members of AKA traveled from across the nation to take part in the January centennial events.  One of the most notable attendees was probably 103-year old Hazel Hainsworth Young, the sorority’s oldest active member.

read more 

5:11 pm est          Comments

Garifuna musician Andy Palacio dies of Heart Attack
By Karen Juanita Carrillo

Forty-seven year old activist and musician Andy Palacio died in Belize City, Belize this past January 19. 

Palacio succumbed to a stroke that affected his brain and caused respiratory problems.

Palacio, who grew up in the coastal village of Barranco, Belize and
most recently lived in San Ignacio, Belize, was an important spokesperson for the Garifuna of Central America.  He worked to incorporate traditional Garifuna music – which is based on traditional African rhythms, and utilises turtle shell percussion, gourd rattles and wooden drums – with modern rhythms.

In Belize, Palacio is a national hero and reports are that while he was sick, the local media covered the status of his illness and those who were attending Garifuna spiritual ceremonies and praying for him as much as
PalacioGarifuna.jpg they covered the actions of the candidates contending for the current national elections.

In December of 2004, Palacio was appointed Cultural Ambassador and Deputy Administrator of the country’s National Institute of Culture and History. Palacio was awarded the Order of Meritorious Service in September 2007, and in November 2007 he was named a UNESCO Artist for Peace. 

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4:52 pm est          Comments

Subprime loans more prevalent among Blacks

United for a Fair Economy, a nonpartisan economic justice organization, has released "Foreclosed: The State of the Dream 2008," a report on how the subprime mortgage crisis has turned the American Dream of homeownership into a nightmare.

A noted problem stated in the report is that Blacks comprise roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, but have 54.7 percent of all subprime mortgages issued nationwide.

"The total loss of wealth for people of color is between $163 billion and $278 billion for subprime loans taken out since 2000" according to the report; and, "African American borrowers will lose between $71 billion and $122 billion."

In fact, subprime loans were more prevalent among Blacks in 98.5% of the metropolitan areas, while Hispanics were more apt to hold a subprime mortgage or refinance loan in nearly 89.1%, according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), a non-profit focused on lending and community development issues.

"Lower-income borrowers also turned to subprime lenders in large numbers, with prime lenders lagging the subprime industry in serving those with incomes 80% or less of their area median, in about 86% of cities studied. In neighborhoods with a concentration of low-income households, that rose to 98%."

"But the subprime mortgage crisis is more than a family crisis. The increase in foreclosures depresses property values, and lowers local and state revenues. And Black neighborhoods are particularly vulnerable given the concentration of subprime mortgages", according to Faye Anderson of Black Voices.

However, for those facing foreclosure due to a subprime mortgage, hope is in sight. On December 6, 2007, President George W. Bush announced a plan to voluntarily and temporarily freeze the mortgages of a limited number of mortgage debtors holding Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs):, declaring "I have a message for every homeowner worried about rising mortgage payments: The best you can do for your family is to call 1-888-995-HOPE."

A refinancing facility called FHA-Secure was also created. This is part of an ongoing collaborative effort between the U.S. government and private industry to help some sub-prime borrowers called the Hope Now Alliance.

8:30 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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