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Wolfgang Effenberger Lopez

a mythical figure very popular in the colonial-era oral traditions of Central America, especially those of El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Cuto derives from the indigenous Nahuatl word cutuctic, meaning “cut” or “shortened,” whereas partideño refers to a herdsman in the Spanish-language tradition. A translation to English would be “Cowboy Shorty.” From the seventeenth century (perhaps beforehand) up to the present day, stories about El Cuto Partideño have been reproduced by indigenous, mestiza, and ladina communities of partly African descent. Most often the cowboy is portrayed as a social bandit and cattle rustler, a Robin Hood figure stealing from the rich to share with the poor. But in other interpretations, he kidnaps women and takes them to his hideout. The figure is sometimes a ladino a mixed race person of Hispanic culture from the hot lands of the cattle country coastal plain of Central America although he ...

Article

Micol Seigel

a mythical figure of black womanhood popularized in post-independence Brazilian history and memory. She is a composite of enslaved Afro-Brazilian wet nurses and domestic workers, conjured as an archetype in literature, music, art, public monuments, and political movements. Her image has served a range of ideological missions, shifting in relation to changing social hierarchies, race relations, labor migrations, gender conventions, and urban demography. Revealing as much about the eras that produced them as the historical people her images represent, views of her persona have oscillated from romantic fantasy to antipathy to nostalgia to critique.

For much of the nineteenth century, the Mãe Preta functioned as an iteration of the myth of the faithful slave, free of the risk of sexual corruption represented by the mulata. As the century progressed, particularly after the Law of the Free Womb of 1871 abolitionists invoked a contrastingly menacing Mãe Preta to sound ...

Article

Manuel Benavides Barquero

also known as “La Negrita” (The Little Black Lady), became the patron saint of Costa Rica in the early nineteenth century. In physical form, La Virgen is a small statue almost 6 inches tall and made of a dark granite, a representation of the Christian religion’s Virgin Mary. This black Madonna cradles an infant Jesus. The first written record of La Virgen’s existence appeared in 1629 in the Puebla de los Pardos (Colored or Brown Town) on the outskirts of the Spanish colonial city of Cartago (now in Costa Rica). Tradition states that she was found by an Indian girl, but it was the free black community that first embraced her as their protector and that in 1662 would rename their community “Puebla de la Reina de los Angeles” (Queen of Los Angeles Town).

Her presence among this ethnic group played a key role in forming the identity and defending ...