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216 Held in Protests of Police Acquittals

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network sponsored a series of protests in response to the April 25th acquittal of three NYPD detectives in the murder of Sean Bell. 

The protests were designed to halt late afternoon traffic at major New York City points, among them the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, the ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge in lower Manhattan, the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge and others. The protests were peaceful but overall met their disruptive design:  216 people were arrested on Wednesday, May 7.

In his New York Times article "216 Held in Protests of Police Acquittals," Thomas J. Lueck writes: "The protests were staged at six locations in the city. In the largest one, about 400 people assembled about 4:30 on the Centre Street approach to the Brooklyn Bridge and blocked Brooklyn-bound traffic for more than an hour. About 60 people in that demonstration were arrested, including Mr. Sharpton and Nicole Paultre Bell, who was to have married Mr. Bell on the day he was killed in a hail of 50 bullets fired by the officers outside a nightclub in Jamaica, Queens, in 2006.

"Two friends of Mr. Bell's, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, who were injured in the fusillade, were among those arrested at the Brooklyn Bridge site.

"Demonstrators also stopped traffic at the Manhattan entrance to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, where about 20 were arrested. They sat in front of cars waiting to come off the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, where 23 were arrested, and blocked ramps at the Triborough Bridge at 125th Street and Second Avenue, where about 40 were arrested.

"The scope of the protests on Wednesday contrasted with the relatively muted response to a state judge's acquittals of the detectives on April 25. At the time, Mr. Sharpton and other activists, politicians and community leaders praised the overall peaceful response that followed the verdict, but vowed to fight the judge's decision in strategic rather than bellicose ways."

2:25 pm edt          Comments

Clark Atlanta Professor Releases Afro-Latin Journal, Negritud 

African studies in Latin America and the Caribbean found its headquarters for American academia in Atlanta with the launch of the scholarly journal, Negritud," writes Redding News Review's International Editor Bruno Gaston.

"Luis Miletti, an Afro-Puerto Rican and assistant professor of Spanish at Clark Atlanta University, released the journal in March after an overwhelming global response to his announcement last year to start the publication. Negritud is published inLuisMiletti.jpg English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Some academic fields of study will include literature, history, anthropology and archeology.

" 'This is the only journal that accepts all writing styles within American academia,' Miletti said. 'That is unheard of because in the US, they tend to be very uniform.' "

Luis Miletti with a copy of Negritud

(Bruno Gaston photo) 

Negritud could indeed be setting a new precedent for the academic medium. In addition to the Web edition, a weekly public radio program for the annually published journal is also under development. The radio show will showcase lectures, panel discussions, and current events regarding Afro-Latinos in the US and abroad."

11:54 am edt          Comments

Leading Scholars, Activists and Diplomats Participate in Venezuela Symposium

Marc Becker wrote about the Venezuela Solidarity Network's Symposium "What's Up With Venezuela? Participatory Democracy or Democracy as Usual?", which took place at Washington, DC's Howard University from April 18 through 21, 2008.

Becker, a Latin American historian and a member of Community Action on Latin America (CALA), in Madison, Wisconsin, wrote about how Jorge Guerrero, the Venezuelan Consul in New Orleans, "explained the growing role of communal councils that are leading toward self government. In the future, Guerrero predicated [sic] they would not need mayors because people will solve their own problems. Julio Chavez, the mayor of Torres, Venezuela, said that he was one of those working to realize that goal. 'How can they accuse of us being authoritarian and centraliJorgeGuerrero.JPGst,' Chavez asked, 'when we are giving power to the people?' " 


Jorge Guerrero, the Venezuelan Consul

in New Orleans (

"Guerrero presented Chavez as a tool that embodies the hopes and aspirations of historically oppressed and excluded peoples to build a new protagonistic and participatory system. Imperialists are opposed to the Venezuelan government because it has allied with the downtrodden.  This extends to international policies, as Venezuela has significantly expanded its diplomatic relations with Africa and the Caribbean. For example, students from Mali are studying textile manufacturing in Venezuela so that they can help their country gain value from cotton production rather than exporting the raw materials. These are not vertical relationships of domination, but horizontal ones built around ideas of solidarity."

1:25 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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