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

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Afro-Bolivians: A forgotten people in South Americas poorest country

"Tens of thousands of African slaves were brought to work in the silver mines of the southern city of Potosi in the 16th century-one of the world's richest cities at the time," Yasmin Khan writes in the article "Afro-Bolivians: A forgotten people in South Americas poorest country" posted on the website. "Many slaves died because of the high altitude, bitter cold and brutal treatment. When Spanish slave traders realized they were losing money on their dying workers, they sold the slaves to hacienda owners in the warmer, lower regions of the Yungas. Roughly 17,000 Africans were sent to the Yungas where they worked as indentured servants as domestic help or in the coca fields, until the Agrarian Reform in 1953.

"The reform took the huge plots of land from the Spanish haciendas and divided it among the poor, mostly Afro-Bolivian workers. Since then, Afro-Bolivian communities have been largely ignored by the government.

"[Jorge Medina, director of the Afro-Bolivian Center for Community and Development (CADIC in Spanish), in La Paz] says he most pressing concerns for Afro-Bolivians are the lack of education and health care. Most young people leave the rural villages to find work in large cities like La Paz and tropical Santa Cruz. Most Afro-Bolivian communities have schools, but no teachers or health posts but no nurses or doctors."

7:56 pm edt          Comments

Barack Obama's speech on Race in America

In a speech that is already being termed one that historians will be quoting for years to come, Democratic President Candidate Barack Obama confronted questions about how his Church pastor deals with racism, by talking about how racism and its affects have never really been dealt with in the U.S. public sphere

"[R]ace is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now," Obama told an audience in Philadelphia, PA on March 18, 2008. "We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America - to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

"The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through - a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

"Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

You can see the entire speech here.

10:34 pm edt          Comments

Bonilla-Silva Exposes Modern Racism at All-Campus Meeting

Duke University sociology professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva spoke racism issues on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Smith College.

"Professor Eduardo Bonilla-Silva's speech [was] titled 'It's Real! Racism, Discrimination, Color Blindness and Isolated (Racial) Incidents,'" student journalist Alexandra Neale writes in the Smith College Sophian.  "The Duke University sociology professor spoke on Jan. 29EduardoBonillaSilva.jpg to a nearly packed house at John M. Greene Hall. The meeting was an all-campus meeting called last semester by President Christ in response to a blackface incident at a Smith party last November...

Duke University Sociology Professor

Eduardo Bonilla Silva

" 'This color-blind racism ideology, comprised of frames, style, and racial stories seems suave, even genteel, but it is not,' " he said.

" 'Color-blind racism is the most significant political tool available to whites to explain and ultimately justify the racial status quo.' "

"Ultimately, Bonilla-Silva advocated race-conscious,"
Neale writes, "not race-blind social policies to combat present-day racism and encouraged all [i]n attendance at the meeting to engage in social protests for racial justice in America and at Smith specifically."

Bonilla-Silva has authored the recent books, Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States (2006) and Anything But Racism : How Social Scientists Limit The Significance Of Racism (2008).  

10:44 pm edt          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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