Africana Studies celebrates Hispano Heritage Month

October 10, 2011

Less than 5 percent of the 11.5 million Africans wrenched into slavery ended up in the United States.  As America celebrates Hispano Heritage Month, Africana Studies wanted all to reflect on the history of Africans in Latin (Central and South) America and the Caribbean. 

African slave trading began before Columbus in 1492, and the earliest Spanish and Portuguese explorers were likewise accompanied by Black Africans who had been born and reared in Iberia. In the following four centuries millions of immigrants from Africa were brought to the New World in servitude.  Today, their descendants form significant ethnic minorities in several Latin American countries, and they are the dominant element in many of the Caribbean nations. Over the centuries, Black people have added their original contributions to the cultural mix of their respective societies and thus exerted a deep influence on all facets of life in Latin America. A strong African influence saturates music, dance, the arts, literature, speech forms, and religious practices in Latin America and the Caribbean. Africans, whether as slaves or free immigrants, brought a variety of African cultural influences to the New World.

In the United States, Blacks who celebrate a Latino/Hispano/Chicano/Mexicano heritage are a growing percentage of the Black American image.  In September, actress Zoe Saldana would grace the cover of Ebony Magazine (Black, Latina, Fierce…) and Latina Magazine (How Her Family Helps Her Keep it Real) being acknowledged by the Black community for her Hispanic heritage and the Latino community for her African heritage.  So, what do Black Hispanics in America look like today?  Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin

For those interested in learning about Afro-Latino's visit:

For some great reading on the topic, also read:

  • Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000 (essay) by George Reid Alexandre
  • Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television (essay) by Yeidy M. Rivero
  • Meet Me Under the Cieba (a novel) by Silvio Siras
  • Geographies of Home (a novel) by Martiza Perez
  • Mujer Negra (poetry) by Nancy Morejon
Prepare for  Dr. Belinda Wallace's AFST 388 Blacks in Latin America course in Spring 2012.