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

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The Hidden History of Afro-Puerto Ricans at Tuskegee

"As Puerto Ricans prepare to celebrate the abolition of slavery on March 22nd," Frank A. Guridy writes in an article posted on the website, "it might be useful for us to ponder the experiences of afro-descendientes on the island in the decades after emancipation. While many will celebrate by dancing to the bomba y plena, I will be thinking about Fannie Barrios. On April 18, 1905, Francisca "Fannie" Barrios, a student at Tuskegee Institute, sat down to write a letter to the school's famous principal, Booker T. Washington.
Barrios, a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico who had been a student at Tuskegee since 1901, saw her time at the school potentially coming to an end. 'I am one of the Porto-Rican Girls in this institution,' Barrios wrote, 'and the reason why I am writing you these lines is that I want to ask if you please be kind and try to find a scholarship for me as I am anxious [to finish] my studies here.' Barrios asked for Washington's assistance because the U.S. colonial government in Puerto Rico had discontinued funding her studies. 'I am a poor girl,' Barrios continued, 'my mother has seven children and I am the eldest, that was the reason why she sent me to this institution with the idea of learning something for when I leave this place for Porto-Rico I could be of service to her.' Barrios concluded her letter by stating frankly: 'I will be disappointed if I have to leave this school.'

"Barrios was part of a cohort of international students from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the African diaspora who studied at Tuskegee in the early twentieth century. In an era when racial segregation was becoming the governing principle of education in the U.S. South, Tuskegee, and its predecessor Hampton Institute, championed what became known as the 'Hampton-Tuskegee Idea' of industrial education for people of African descent. Tuskegee became the pre-eminent model of industrial training. Founded by ex-slave and Hampton graduate Booker T.Washington in rural Alabama in 1881, the institute grew rapidly and superseded Hampton as the most prominent and well-endowed school for African-Americans. Tuskegee quickly developed a national and international stature, attracting thousands of students from across the U.S. and areas outside the country. However, it also attracted hundreds of students from across the African Diaspora, including the African continent, the English-speaking Caribbean, Central and South America, along with Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic."

10:16 pm edt          Comments

Interview with Afro-Peruvian activist Jorge Ramírez

Afro-Peruvians continue to struggle for the recognition of their rights, respect for their culture and to an education that takes their identity into account. Of the 28 million Peruvians, just 10 percent are estimated to be Afro-descendents, most of whom live along the coast. Jorge Ramírez, president of the Black Association for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights, or ASONEDH, and of the National Network of African Diaspora in Peru (Afro-Peruvian Network) spoke with Latinamerica Press collaborator Lily Céspedes about Peru's Black movement.

9:31 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. 

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