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Aaron Myers

In the first half of the nineteenth century, thousands of African slaves were involuntarily brought from the Calabar region of southwestern Nigeria to Cuba in order to labor on the sugar plantations. In Cuba, these enslaved people reconstructed aspects of their language (Igbo) and religious rituals in Abakuás, all-male organizations with closely guarded religious, musical, and dance traditions. The prototype for Cuba's Abakuás can be found in Calabar's leopard societies, groups of highly respected, accomplished men who adopted the leopard as a symbol of masculinity. Today as in the past, Abakuás are found predominantly in the city of Havana and the province of Matanzas and are united by a common African mythology and ritual system.

Abakuás preserve African traditions through performative ceremonies a complex system of signs and narratives in the Igbo language Customarily led by four leaders and eight subordinate officers members of the Abakuás seek to protect ...

Article

The well-known white Cuban Creole author Cirilo Villaverde (1812–1894) published a first version of Cecilia Valdés in 1839 (thirteen years before Uncle Tom's Cabin, in 1852) at the urging of the abolitionist editor and journalist Domingo del Monte. Del Monte had commissioned the novel to be read at his famous tertulia, social gatherings in Havana, where intellectuals presented works to one another and to supporters who would gather to listen. There was the potential of sending the works to England as part of the 1838 dossier that del Monte was preparing for Richard Madden. Madden was the British representative to the International Tribunal of Justice, which oversaw the ban on slave trading and the protection of freedpeople. The purpose of del Monte's circle of liberal planters and professionals was to embarrass Spain into granting abolition and other reforms including Cuban representation in ...

Article

Kate Tuttle

The son of an Ethiopian father and a mother of French and African descent, Peter Abrahams was considered “Coloured” in the South African racial classification scheme. He grew up outside Johannesburg and began working at the age of nine, never having attended school. He later enrolled, however, after he was inspired by hearing Othello read to him by a coworker. As a teenager Abrahams discovered works by African American writers such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer in the library at the Bantu Men's Social Centre.

Abrahams began publishing his own poems in local newspapers while studying at a teachers’ training college. While enrolled at St. Peter's Secondary School—a fertile political environment—Abrahams became a member of the Communist Party of South Africa (later renamed the South African Communist Party After his failed attempt to start a school for poor African ...

Article

Endowed with a fine harbor, which is almost entirely landlocked, and located in a setting of great natural beauty, Acapulco de Juárez is sometimes called the Riviera of Mexico It has luxury hotels gambling casinos and excellent beaches and is popular for winter vacations and deep sea fishing The ...

Article

Rob Garrison

Isidro Acea was greatly respected for his bravery and unceremonious nature. Described as a very outspoken man and a charismatic leader, his personal qualities enabled him to gain a position as colonel in the Liberation Army under General Máximo Gómez and Antonio Maceo y Grajales.

Acea lived during a period of Cuban history when the society was highly politicized around the issue of race, particularly after the War of Independence (1895–1898 Afro Cubans were frustrated by the Cuban administration United States military occupation and Spanish migration all of which exacerbated social inequity for people of African descent in the nation Acea like some other Afro Cuban veterans attempted to connect with the community and gain support by entering the political arena on a pro black platform in the early 1900s The platform lacked patronage particularly because of U S imposed restrictions on male suffrage that required literacy ...

Article

The existence of HIV was first identified among populations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as it was in North America and sub-Saharan Africa, in the early 1980s. HIV is a particularly virulent and incurable infection that is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids (such as blood or semen) and attacks the immune system, leaving the infected person susceptible to opportunistic infections and certain cancers, often resulting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and death. Recent trends in Latin America and the Caribbean show a disproportionate number of new cases of HIV infection emerging among the poor and working classes and among populations of African descent.

After a few cases of the disease were diagnosed among Haitian immigrants in the United States, considerable attention was focused on the AIDS epidemic in Haiti This focus led to the misconception among many U S scientists and in the media that Haitian ...

Article

Aaron Myers

During the 1960s and 1970s, influenced by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the United States and nationalist movements in Africa, Afro-Brazilians experienced a surge in black pride. This heightened black consciousness was also prompted by denouncements of racism and praises to “Mother Africa” heard in Jamaican Reggae, increasingly popular in Brazil during the 1970s. As a result, black Brazilians, especially those in cities such as Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Salvador, reaffirmed their connection with Africa and became more vocal about problems facing their community, particularly racial discrimination. This process was accelerated by the abertura (opening)—the gradual return to democratic rule that began in 1979 and loosened restrictions on free speech. In Salvador, this newfound black pride reinvigorated the old and waning afoxés and gave birth to a new type of black Carnival organization, the bloco Afro.

Afoxés emerged in the late ...

Article

Michael Niblett

Bulletin of the International African Service Bureau (IASB). The IASB was founded in London in 1937 by the Trinidadian activists C. L. R. James and George Padmore, the Sierra Leonean I. T. A. Wallace‐Johnson, the Kenyan Jomo Kenyatta, and the Guyanese radical Ras Makonnen. All were leading figures within Pan‐Africanism, and their decision to establish the IASB was prompted in part by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia.

The aim of the organization was to help enlighten the British public by distributing literature and holding talks on the issue of colonialism. Africa and the World was introduced in early 1937 to further these ends, the driving force behind it being the Marxist activist and trade unionist Wallace‐Johnson, who became its editor as well as General Secretary of the IASB. By the autumn of 1937 the bulletin had developed into a journal, the African Sentinel which ...

Article

Ana Raquel Fernandes

One of the major black associations in Liverpool in the 1950s. It was established in September 1952 with a declared mission to advance the cause of Africans everywhere, and to bring ‘honour and glory’ to African peoples. The Society's aims and activities were diverse, and local and global in scope. Its primary objective was to promote employment opportunities for skilled black workers in the Gold Coast and elsewhere in Africa, to promote cultural, educational, and technical knowledge, and to encourage the greater participation of African people in the British and international civil services. It also aimed to provide financial aid and moral support to members.

The Society not only was concerned with the material welfare of Africans in Liverpool, but also sought to foster interest in, and international support for, Africa. To this end, it strove to build unity among the member states of the British Commonwealth.

Seeking to arouse ...

Article

Any discussion of African ethnic groups in the Americas must begin with certain caveats concerning the nature of African “ethnic groups” in the areas of west, west central, and southeastern Africa, from which African diasporic populations in the Americas and the Caribbean originated. First, scholars and other observers have rightly pointed out the cultural similarities and shared histories of large groups of people whom they have termed ethnic groups. However, among African people themselves, before the age of European colonialism in the nineteenth century, such labels affiliating large groups of people held little everyday meaning. That is to say, an Igbo woman in a village in West Africa did not necessarily attach great importance—or any importance at all—to belonging within a larger Igbo collective of tens of thousands of people.

Second within all such ethnic groups there exist literally countless local and regional subgroups with various cultural and historical distinctions ...

Article

When enslaved black Africans were brought to the Americas and the Caribbean, their languages came into contact with European languages. At the same time, plantations brought together Africans from different ethnic and linguistic origins who did not share a common language. As a result, the plantations became multilingual settings in which the slaves were compelled by circumstances to resort to using the owners' languages as lingua francas and later as vernaculars, that is, languages used for day-to-day communication. The vast majority of African slaves brought to the New World were adults, and thus already fluent speakers of their local languages, which inevitably influenced the way they spoke European colonial languages.

The European languages used in the colonies were already different from their metropolitan ancestors as they were by products of communication among European colonists who spoke diverse dialects and languages They were further restructured when spoken by the Africans especially ...

Article

Filomena Sandalo and Luciana Storto

Although the issue remains inconclusive, Brazil's spoken Portuguese appears not to have evolved from or have been a full-fledged Africanized creole, such as those creoles spoken in many parts of the Caribbean. Nevertheless, Brazilian Portuguese was significantly influenced by the languages that the country's large slave population introduced.

Evaluating Brazil s three centuries of slavery might lead to the hypothesis that the varieties of Portuguese spoken in the country could have gone through a process of creolization in colonial times parallel to what has happened in many countries of the Caribbean The African presence in Brazil is the largest in the Americas 38 percent of all Africans who came in colonial times to the New World were brought to Brazil as opposed for example to the 4 5 percent who were brought to North America Slavery in Brazil also lasted longer than anywhere else in the New World the slave ...

Article

Richard Newman

George Alexander McGuire (1866–1934) was an Antiguan ordained in the Episcopal Church in the United States who responded enthusiastically to the Black Nationalism of Marcus Garvey. McGuire envisioned an autonomous black church in the Episcopal tradition as a dimension of the Garvey Movement, much as the Anglican Church served as an international aspect of the British Empire. In 1921 he founded the African Orthodox Church (AOC) in New York. It attracted primarily West Indians sympathetic to Anglicanism, but also some Episcopalians and Roman Catholics who saw little future for blacks in American churches.

Garvey himself never joined the AOC, and in fact warned against both religious divisiveness and competing loyalties to his Universal Negro Improvement Association McGuire vigorously promoted a racially identified faith creating nationalist liturgies and calling for the image of a black Christ Unable to secure consecration to the bishopric from recognized authorities ...

Article

David Dabydeen

Africanservant who served and died in Henbury, Bristol. Africanus was the servant of Charles William, Earl of Suffolk and Bindon. The Earl married into the Astry family of Henbury House. Africanus, who was named after an ancient Roman general, was a symbol of their wealth. He, like other servants of African origin who worked in aristocratic homes, was a novelty who, besides doing domestic chores, also functioned as a showpiece for wealthy guests.

In the 18th century thousands of male and female slaves arrived in Britain to become servants of the rich minority They mainly came from the New World rather than directly from Africa The common erroneous belief was that Bristol slavers brought Africans back and kept them chained in the Redcliff caves before shipping them across the Atlantic The truth was that most African slaves were part of the triangular trade being transported from ...

Article

When Africa is regarded as part of the cultural and political history of the African diaspora, it is usually recognized only as an origin—as a past to the African American present, as a source of survival in the Americas, as the roots of African American branches and leaves, or, at the most dialectical, as a concept conjured up by New World blacks as a trope of racial unity.

Yet, in truth, the cultures of both Africa and the Americas have shaped each other through a live dialogue that continued beyond the end of the slave trade. In ways easily documented since the eighteenth century, travel by free Africans and African Americans (by which I mean people of African descent throughout the Americas) has continued to shape political identities and cultural practices in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Since the eighteenth century enslaved or free black seamen have ...

Article

For information on

Art and film: See Art in Latin America and the Caribbean

Brazil: Cinema, Black, in Brazil; Cinema Novo; Diegues; Grande Otelo; Samba, Candomblé, and Quilombo in Brazilian Cinema: An Interpretation.

Capoeira: See Capoeira; Mestre Bimba; Mestre Pastinha.

Carnival: See Carnivals in Latin America and the Caribbean; Afoxés/Blocos Afros; Filhos de Gandhi; Ilê Aiyê; Olodum; Samba Schools.

Music and dance: Berimbau; Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Music; Samba; Tia Ciata; Tropicália.

Musicians: See Benjor; Bola Sete;Brown; Cartola; Caymmi; Djavan; Donga; Garcia; Gil; Jesus; Moreira and Purim; Nascimento; Pandeiro; Pixinguinha; Science; Vasconcelos.

Language: See African Linguistic Influences on Brazilian Portuguese; Cafundó; Complexities of Ethnic and Racial Terminology in Latin America and the Caribbean ...

Article

The phenomenon of African former slaves returning to their original homes has thus far not received the attention it deserves. Pierre Verger has done much work on the relationship between Brazil and West Africa, and several others have written on the subject. More needs to be done, however, to clarify the motivations and the influences that determined the former slaves’ attitudes and reactions on returning to their home areas.

This essay examines the attitudes, occupations, and contributions of Brazilian returnees to West Africa in the nineteenth century. Their stay in Brazil so affected them that they behaved more like Brazilians than Africans on the West African coast. For this reason, in this essay they are called “Brazilians.”

The term however is not completely accurate because the Brazilian communities included people of different origins some having had little or no connection with Brazil Some were men who had been former officials ...

Article

Caribbean peoples have historically settled primarily on the east coast of the United States, establishing strong diasporic communities. Reception and assimilation experiences have been different for each Caribbean immigrant group, depending on their ethnicity, race, and class as well as U.S. policies toward them.

Article

Afro-Colombians (Colombians of African descent) were invisible in the 1886 constitution that ruled Colombia for over 100 years. By 1990, after centuries of marginalization and discrimination, Afro-Colombian organizations emerged as a political force. They denounced implicit racial discrimination and demanded that the constitutional reform take ethnic identity into account without restricting their rights to equality. The black movement received support from representatives of indigenous groups and of the progressive left. Both groups had representatives in the Constitutional Assembly, formed in 1990 to rewrite the constitution.

Article

The Afro–Central American population is found mainly on the eastern shore of the Central American isthmus and can be broken into two principal groups: Creoles and Garifuna (or Garinagu). Historically, the primary cultural and economic orientation of these groups has been toward the greater Caribbean basin, that is, the islands of West Indies. Thus, Afro–Central American culture developed with little contact from the western part of the isthmus until well into the twentieth century. Even in the late twentieth century, immigration by Afro-Central Americans into respective capital cities in the interior was minimal and sporadic. Such immigration was even legally restricted in some places (for example, Afro-Costa Ricans were barred from San José, Costa Rica, up until the 1960s).

Creoles are primarily found in Nicaragua and Costa Rica The contemporary population totals around 100 000 and is concentrated in urban and semi urban areas such as Bluefields and ...