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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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Lecture explores African roots of salsa

David Cazares writes in his South Florida Times interview with Barbara Craddock about the African roots of salsa:

"Salsa, which means 'sauce' in Spanish, is the term many people use to describe a variety of Afro-Cuban rhythms that include rumba, guaguancó, son, mambo and conga. Bands play to the clave rhythm, the 3-2 or 2-3 beat that characterizes much of Latin dance music.

"For hundreds of years, waves of enslaved Africans in Cuba kept their culture and musical traditions alive, even without drums -- often by playing on boxes and furniture or with gourds and sticks. By the 1800s, Afro-Cuban musicians were fusing such African rhythms with Spanish genres such as the danza and danzón, musical experimentations that would lead to Cuban son - the precursor to salsa - along with the cha-cha-chá and mambo. Arrivals from Haiti brought flutes and violins that are heard in charanga music.

"In the 20th century, Cuban bandleaders added horns, pianos and congas, creating large bands that played rhythmic and danceable music that spread to the United States. Jelly Roll Morton often spoke of the importance of adding a 'Spanish tinge.'

"By the 1940s, jazz musicians in New York were collaborating with their Afro-Cuban counterparts, as trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie did with conga player Chano Pozo on the ground breaking tune 'Manteca (Lard).'"

2:23 am edt          Comments

Small Farmers Fight Land Theft in Colombia 

Patrick Bonner, a coordinator with the Colombia Peace Project, writes about how Afro Colombians communities are organizing to regain stolen land and live in peace, in an article published in the LA Progressive:  "In 1997, Don Petro and 15,000 other civilian inhabitants of the region known as the Lower Atrato (near Panama), were forcibly displaced by a series of attacks known as 'Operation Genesis,' carried out by paramilitary forces and the Colombian army’s 17th Brigade. Soldiers participating in the operation told people, 'We have orders to clear out the area because somebody wants your land.' More than 100 people were killed. These inhabitants had lived in the area for generations practicing small-scale farming in harmony with the rain forest.

"Many of the displaced, while in refugee camps, organized themselves under the protective umbrella of Colombian and International human rights organizations.  Most of the displaced were Afro-Colombians, and therefore have a right to collective ownership of the land they had been living on.  This right was guaranteed in Colombia’s 1991 Constitution and codified in Law 70 in 1993 .  Negotiations following the initial displacement resulted in the government recognizing that 86,000 hectares of land in the Curvaradó and Jiguamiandó river basins belong to those displaced communities. (A hectare is 2.47 acres.)"

12:42 am edt          Comments


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In partnership with:
LUNDU Center for Afro-Peruvian Advancement 
 www.lundu.org.pe 
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-----BOOKS-----

THE SOUND OF MY FOOTSTEPS: NARRATIVES OF MIGRATORY JAMAICAN IMMIGRANTS.  

By Lisa Scott

 

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

 Click here to view and purchase the book.

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THE AFRO-LATIN@ READER 

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

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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.

                                                                                                                                        ---------------------------------------------

AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY DAY BY DAY: A REFERENCE GUID TO EVENTS 

By Karen Juanita Carrillo

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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.

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THE VIEW FROM CHOCÓ: THE AFRO-COLOMBIAN PAST, THEIR LIVES IN THE PRESENT, AND THEIR HOPES FOR THE FUTURE 

by Karen Juanita Carrillo

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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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