Category: Afro-Latin Americans

Afro-Latin Americans: Editor’s Letter

My dear friend and photographer Richard Cross (R.I.P.) introduced me to the unexpected world of San Basilio de Palenque in Colombia in 1977. He was then working closely with Colombian anthropologist Nina de Friedemann, and I’d been called upon by Sports Illustrated to…

Witches, Wives, Secretaries and Black Feminists

The issue of gender has been front and center for me, both as a subject of my fieldwork on black politics in Latin America, and how I conducted that research, particularly in how I…

Compañeros En Salud

English + Español
I have lived in non-indigenous rural Chiapas in southern Mexico since 2013, working with Compañeros En Salud (CES)—a Harvard af liated non-profit organization that partnered with…

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…

Reflections on the Afro-Chilean Social Movement

English + Español
A saying popularized by the Afro-Uruguayan leader Romero Rodríguez comes up again and again in the history of the Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean movements: “We entered as…

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

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

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…

A View of Afro-Diasporic History from Colombia

The Muntu Bantu, a memorial museum and cultural center in Quibdo, Chocó, on Colombia’s Pacific coast region, seeks to work “for the study, promotion and diffusion of the Afro…

Transforming Havana’s Gay Ambiente

The epicenter of Havana’s gay ambiente might be La Rampa—a stretch of Calle 23 in the touristy El Vedado neighborhood— but the peripheral neighborhoods of Havana are also…

Social Policies and Decentralization in Cuba

From my snapshot views of Cuba in ve visits over the years, two eye-opening moments stand out. In 1980, after visiting one workplace after another where union and management…

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

“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

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…

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…

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…

Matos Series Inaugurated

On October 3, 2017, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Moses Mesoamerican Archive inaugurated the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series in Mexico…

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