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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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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Obama in PR and the Island's African legacy

Text and photos by Karen Juanita Carrillo

President Barack Obama’s visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 marked the first time a sitting UnitedWelcomeMrPresident50anos.jpg States president had visited the island in 50 years.   Obama had traveled to Puerto Rico, which is legally a commonwealth associated with the United States, when he was a presidential candidate in 2008.  And even though he returned as a representative of the imperialist nation that basically owns the island, Obama’s five-hour return to Puerto Rico was celebrated by many of its residents.

As the U.S.’s first recognized president of African descent, Obama is still greatly respected throughout Latin America.  And in Puerto Rico, where the 2010 Census reports showed that more Puerto Ricans are recognizing their own African heritage (some 461,000 marked themselves as of African descent), Obama’s presence helps fortify a growing Afro Puerto Rican pride movement.

Blacks in Puerto Rico have had a long history of contributing to their nation.  Throughout the island, it is easy to find their influence.  Most Harlemites know of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, an Afro Puerto Rican who fought against the idea that people of African descent had never contributed anything to history by creating a library of books about Black people.  The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on 135th Street and Malcolm X Blvd. is named in his honor.

But alongside Schomburg there are even more Afro Puerto Ricans who have contributed to the island, and there are so many memorials and remembrances of them that you could spend a vacation touring the island and visiting their old haunts.  Those visiting the island should be sure to go to the Museo de Nuestra Raiz Africana in the Plaza San Jose in Old San Juan, which officially looks at Black contributions to Puerto Rican culture.  But here are a few other locations to see as well:

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10:41 am edt 

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Visit www.afropresencia.com to find listings and links to areas where you can find out about upcoming events, as well as links to articles, photos and videos on Life in the Black Americas.


The Sound of My Footsteps:

Narratives of Migratory Jamaican immigrants


Interviews with over 30 Jamaican immigrants

on their pre-migratory perceptions of New York

and England

 Click here to view and purchase the book.


The Afro-Latin@ Reader 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 Guide to Events

 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.


The View from Chocó: The Afro-Colombian past, their lives in the present, and their hopes for the future 

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.




To view and purchase Kindle books, please click the following links:

The View from Chocó: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009LSSNLU



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