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

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book review: Blackness in the White Nation


In Uruguay, the Black population makes up an estimated 5 to 9.2 percent of the nation’s 3.38 million people, while most Uruguayans—some 70 percent—are of European descent. Regardless, Afro-Uruguayan culture has come to define the nation.

The Afro-Uruguayan music of “candombe” (a Ki-Kongo word used to describe local African-oriented dance societies) and its related dance styles led to the popularity of Argentina’s tango. To this day, the music of candombe and its tradition of “llamadas” (calls for all to share in the music) determines Uruguay’s Carnival tradition, which, from late January to mid-March, celebrates the Afro-Uruguayan culture of drumming and dancing.

This is not unusual, notes George Reid Andrews in his book, Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010). Throughout the Americas, nations that had up until the 19th century enslaved Black people had, by the beginning of 20th century, discovered yet another way to utilize Black culture. “The Llamadas were the Uruguayan variant of a phenomenon taking place throughout mid-century Latin America: The creation of ‘nationalization’ by the state of folkloric festivals and holidays that, through lavish pageantry and symbolism, defined the place of nonwhite peoples in the nation.

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3:43 pm edt 

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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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