aerial view of the Amazon river

Afro-Latin Americas

Winter 2018 | Volume XVII, Number 2

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

Matos Series Inaugurated 

First Take

The Rise of Afro-Latin America

The Rise of Afro-Latin America

It was a foundational event. Never before had so many activists concerned with issues of race and justice in Latin America come together to discuss their experiences and to chart new agendas for the future. Never before had racism and racial inequality been so visible, so…

Memory and Resistance

Slavery and Precarious Freedom

Slavery and Precarious Freedom

Slavery was a form of labor exploitation in which workers became the property of others; slaves were considered things, thus routinely exposed to transactions such as sale, auction…

Sandoval Redux

Sandoval Redux

“While I lie on a cushion of worm slime, Father Alonso de Sandoval appears”: So remarks one of the several enslaved narrators in Afro-Colombian author Manuel Zapata Olivella’s 1983…

The Routine of an Unconventional Path

The Routine of an Unconventional Path

As a scientist by training and by conviction, I wish sometimes that I could just be like so many of my esteemed colleagues: just keep doing research in High-Energy Astrophysics, build a career around it, and hopefully derive my life’s satisfaction from it…

Discrimination and Forms of Action

Prejudice and Pride

Prejudice and Pride

What does it mean to be black in Central America? From the Garifuna people along the Atlantic Coast to the descendants of Jamaican and other West Indian groups throughout the…

Music and Dance

The Bearers

The Bearers

English + Español
Viñales’s spectacular natural beauty makes it one of Cuba’s busiest tourist attractions, but tourists don’t come to this mango grove, and the bus driver who brought us wasn’t happy about taking the beat-up road that leads here. Plus, it’s raining. No matter, there’ll be a party…

In the Footsteps of La Rebambaramba

In the Footsteps of La Rebambaramba

English + Español
Tracing the journey of Amadeo Roldán’s Afro-Cuban ballet La Rebambaramba (1928) I arrived in Paris. Yes, in Paris, France… both the author of the original libretto, the Cuban writer and musicologist Alejo Carpentier, and the—also Cuban— choreographer Ramiro Guerra…

La Candela Viva

La Candela Viva

The drum beat is the pulse of Palenque de San Basilio; it is central to birth, death, marriage and other celebrations. In this Colombian town, drumming is about communion and…

Negra/Anger

Negra/Anger

Nina Simone once said that her life had been a constant struggle between blacks and whites…and that she had finally found her balance between the black and white keys of…

Afro-Roots and Mozart Too

Afro-Roots and Mozart Too

I discovered jazz at 13 in my musical household in Cuba when my brother brought home a cassette tape of Chick Corea’s record “Friends,” and ever since I have been obsessed with…

Building Bridges

Book Talk

Anatomía de una Trampa

Anatomía de una Trampa

English + Español
While campaigning, many politicians in Latin America use the rhetoric of dignity and rectitude to sway voters. However, in power, they often forget electoral promises, abusing…