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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

Mylene Priam

Antillanité is a neologism invented and introduced by Edouard Glissant at the end of the 1950s. The Martinican novelist, poet, activist, and theorist’s first attempt to discuss the construct occurred in 1969, in his essay L’Intention poétique (The Poetic Intention). But it was in 1981, in the author’s famous Caribbean Discourse (Le Discours antillais), that the theory was fully developed. “[T]o analyze … the structure of Martinican reality” (“analyser … la structure du réel martiniquais”)—such is, in Caribbean Discourse, Glissant’s initial objective, for he notes that Martinique’s reality has been too deeply violated to be positively and effectively perceived or nurtured by the island’s people, victims of centuries of colonialism (Le Discours, p. 465, translation by the author). For Edouard Glissant, Martinique is the tragic example of an effective colonization. (In 1946 Martinicans chose by referendum to become French citizens ...

Article

For information on

Art and motion pictures in Latin America: See Art in Latin America and the Caribbean; Cinema Novo; Haitian Art; Third Cinema.

Filmmakers: See Cinema, Black, in Brazil; Cinema, Black, in Spanish America; Diegues, Carlos; Giral, Sergio; Gómez, Sara ...

Article

Aparajita Nanda

The Bay Area in California which includes San Francisco the North Bay the East Bay the Peninsula and the South Bay is an extensive and geographically varied metropolitan region It is home to more than 7 million people and boasts a free spirited lifestyle cultural diversity and hopes and dreams that find expression in liberal politics and entrepreneurship A multidimensional writing community that blurs the lines of ethnic demarcation has arisen from the concentration of writers of all colors in the Bay Area Forming an integral part of this community are African American novelists who write not only of the black experience but also of the marginalization of other writers of color Despite hardships the omnipresence of existential threat the works of these writers celebrate human strength and a spiritual aesthetic that acknowledges the beauty of life and a faith in humanity This article provides an overview of a representative ...

Article

Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities is an anthology edited by Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramon providing a multifaceted analysis of neighborhoods of metropolitan Los Angeles that are either currently or historically predominantly black. The contributions selected by the editors highlight the rich history of accomplishment and survival in Los Angeles's community of color as it continuously confronts challenges to the geographical space of the community; shifts in local and national policy; the changing dynamics around race, social class, gender, and sexual identity; shifts in the opportunity structure for residents; and the realities of environmental and economic risk. The volume is organized into four parts: Space, People, Image, and Action It begins with a look at the historical foundations of the black community of Los Angeles and ends with a more contemporary question of now what for readers via series of action research chapters ...

Article

Adam Jones

traveler and writer from what is now southern Ghana, was born c. 1827 in or near the Asante capital of Kumasi. In contemporary documents, his name often appears as Aquassie Boachi. His father Kwaku Dua (c.1797–1867) was Asantehene (King of Asante) from 1834 to 1867. According to the “History of Ashanti,” prepared in the mid-twentieth century under the chairmanship of Asantehene Prempeh II (1892–1970), Kwasi Boakye belonged to the village of Atomfuo, 8 miles (13 km) east of Kumasi. This suggests that on his mother’s side he came from the lineage of royal blacksmiths, which may explain why, in 1837 in accordance with his father s wishes he and a close relative of the same age Kwame Poku were chosen to accompany a Dutch embassy under Major General Jan Verveer on its return to Elmina on the coast They were subsequently brought to ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

French traveler and travel writer who explored West Africa, was born in 1799 in Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon in the Deux-Sèvres region of France. His family was extremely poor. Caillié’s father had been banished to work as a prisoner rowing on government boats before he was born. His mother died very young. According to his later account of his travels in West Africa, Caillié had dreamed of reaching the fabled trade center of Timbuktu on the banks of the Niger River since he was a child. Whether or not this actually was the case, Caillié did manage to reach the Senegalese town of Saint Louis in 1815 He stayed there for several months and tried to join an English expedition up the Gambia River This project did not work out He then spent some time working on the French Caribbean colony of Guadeloupe but soon returned to Senegal He came back to ...

Article

Canada  

James W. St. Walker

Black people have lived in Canada since the beginnings of transatlantic settlement. A few came as explorers, more came as slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, still more as former American slaves fleeing to Canada between 1783 and 1865, and since then as free immigrants from the United States, the West Indies, and Africa. Until the 1980s very few came directly from their ancestral continent, yet the label African Canadian is being used increasingly to include all Canadians of African descent, wherever they were born. In the 1996 census, African Canadians composed about 2 percent of the total Canadian population.

Article

Jim Mendelsohn

According to Potawatomi Indians in the early nineteenth century, “The first white man to settle at Chickagou was a Negro.” Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable, an Afro-French trader, began the settlement of Chicago in approximately 1790.

In only fifty years, as Chicago became an important center of commerce for the grain and livestock trades, a vital African American community developed along the banks of the Chicago River. Composed of fugitive slaves fleeing the South and a small number of free blacks, the community acted in defiance of the Illinois Black Code, which required all African Americans to carry a certificate of freedom and post a $1,000 bond. Together with white abolitionists, the black community vigorously protested against slavery, resettled more fugitive slaves from the South, and established important links on the Underground Railroad. By the outbreak of the Civil War (1861–1865 approximately 1 000 blacks ...

Article

Shortly before the Civil War a new pastime began to sweep the gentlemen’s clubs and social societies, one that would eventually evolve into the “national pastime”—baseball. The game quickly gained momentum throughout America, with amateur, leisure clubs springing up across the eastern portion of the country, followed by professionalized teams in the 1870s.

Almost from the beginning the nascent pastime caught fire within African American communities just as it did in white society. However, for most of baseball’s first century of existence, a largely informal but nevertheless real “color line” divided the players, owners, journalists, and fans with the same type of racial segregation that plagued almost every other aspect of American society.

But despite this discrimination the passion for and subsequent quality of baseball was just as vibrant in African American culture as it was elsewhere and Chicago developed into what was arguably the strongest and most vital locus ...

Article

Jonathan Morley

Journalist and activist born to wealthy parents, against whom she rebelled. Cunard became a well‐known figure in the London modernist movement, and throughout the busiest period in her career, the 1930s, was a controversial advocate of black emancipation in the United States and Africa.

At 855 pages long, weighing nearly 8 pounds, with 150 contributors, the NEGRO anthology of 1934 was Cunard's most ambitious publication: a collection of essays, polemics, and poetry from France, Britain, and America designed to highlight the vibrancy of the black world and to lobby for black freedom. Writers of interest include the future African presidents Jomo Kenyatta and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Pan‐Africanists George Padmore and W. E. B. DuBois, the black modernist novelist Zora Neale Hurston, and the poets Nicolás Guillen, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Countee Cullen, Alain Locke, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound who ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

Russian-Swiss writer and traveler in North Africa, was born in Geneva on 17 February 1877, the illegitimate daughter of Aleksander Trofimovskiĭ, a Russian ex-priest, anarchist, and horticulturalist, and Madame de Moerder (née Eberhardt), a general’s wife. She was educated mainly by her father, who taught her several languages, including Arabic. Among other things, she read the Qurʾan with him and subsequently acquired a love of classical Arabic and Islam. She later claimed to have been born and brought up a Muslim, but this, like much else in her account of herself, was a fantasy.

In her youth, inspired by the novels of Pierre Loti, she dreamed of escaping to an exotic Muslim environment. The deserts of North Africa especially attracted her, and in 1896 she entered into correspondence with Eugène Latord a French officer in southeast Algeria who fed her imagination with accounts of life there At this ...

Article

Gullah  

The Gullah, descendants of slaves from in West Africa, have occupied the Sea Islands off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia coasts since the late 1600s. The relative isolation of the islands has preserved the cultural traditions of the inhabitants. Although mainstream American culture has encroached on Gullah communities in modern times, the communities—small farming and fishing villages—still exist today.

Slave-owning planters brought West Africans to the Sea Islands because of the skill these Africans had in the cultivation of rice. The slaves' knowledge and methods, in fact, greatly influenced rice-growing practices in South Carolina. Harsh conditions of life in the Sea Islands kept white settlement low, so that by the late eighteenth century, more than 70 percent of the population was black. In November 1861, at the dawn of the Civil War plantation owners on the Sea Islands fled as United States Navy ships approached This ...

Article

Scott Yanow

jazz pianist, was born in Detroit, Michigan. Hanna began playing piano when he was eleven years old. His first music teacher was his father, a preacher at the local church, who also played saxophone. His brother played trumpet and violin. Hanna doubled on the alto saxophone when he was attending Cass Technical High School, although he did not pursue that instrument.

Hanna began working professionally in Detroit clubs in 1948 when he was sixteen years old. After serving in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1952, he became a significant part of the rich Detroit jazz and piano scene, following in the footsteps of Hank Jones and his contemporaries Barry Harris and Tommy Flanagan.

Moving to New York to study at Juilliard in 1955, Hanna gained attention and displayed his versatility during stints with the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1958 including performing at the Newport Jazz ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

a singer who lived for over thirty years in Russia, both under Tsar Nicholas and during the first decades of the Soviet Union, was born in Augusta, Georgia, according to her 1901 passport application. Some accounts give her year of birth as 1870. Multiple passport applications give 1875. Census records suggest she may have been the daughter of John and Ann Harris, who in 1880 were illiterate tenant farmers in Carnesville, Franklin County, northwest of Augusta. The subsequent history of her older brothers, Andrew J. and Henry Harris, and younger sister Lulu, are unknown.

In 1892Harris married Joseph B. Harris (no relation), moving with him to Brooklyn, where she worked as a domestic and directed a Baptist church choir. She went to Europe in May 1901 as a member of the “Louisiana Amazon Guards,” a singing group assembled by the German promoter Paule ...

Article

Mark G. Emerson

Frederick Douglass and his second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass, traveled to Italy in 1887 as a part of their grand tour of Europe. In January the Douglasses spent three days in Genoa, where Douglass admired the violin of the renowned composer and musician Niccolò Paganini. In Pisa they spent a day visiting the Leaning Tower, the cathedral, and the baptistery.

The Douglasses then headed for Rome where they stayed for nine days They toured several ancient forums including the oldest the Roman Forum and the most magnificent the Forum of Trajan Douglass marveled at the ancient baths of Diocletian Caracalla and Titus renowned for their size and grandeur Douglass also climbed several hills in Rome including the Pincian and the Janiculum noted for their commanding views and the Capitoline the smallest of the Seven Hills of Rome but also the most important historically as it served as the ...

Article

James McCarthy

Scottish explorer and geographer of Africa, was born in Edinburgh in 1844. Alexander Keith Johnston was the son of the eminent geographer and cartographer of the same name, who had established the highly respected engraving and mapmaking firm of W. & A. K. Johnston with his brother William. Although the young Keith was educated at prestigious schools in the Scottish capital, he was also tutored carefully by his father, and learned those European languages in which significant geographical material was published. Like his father, Keith’s interest extended well beyond conventional cartography, and he made important contributions to oceanography, hydrology, and global climatic influences. Both were influential figures in the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), itself the most important national institution in the promotion of worldwide discovery and the development of the nineteenth-century British Empire, not least in Africa.

After a period as superintendent of drawing and engraving at the prestigious ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

journalist and broadcaster, was born in Moscow, (then in the Soviet Union), to Abdullah Khanga, a political activist from Zanzibar, and Lily Golden, a former tennis star, historian, and teacher. Khanga's American-born maternal grandparents had joined the Communist Party during the 1920s, when living in New York City they faced the prejudice and intolerance often directed at interracial couples. Oliver Golden, a black man with a degree in agronomy from the Tuskegee Institute, was unable to find work in his field and was instead forced to take on the menial tasks available to African Americans at the time, janitorial and domestic work. Bertha Bialek, Khanga's white grandmother, was disowned by her immigrant parents because of her romantic relationship with Oliver. The couple left for the Soviet Union in 1931 convinced that the communist system would free them from the racism that had become endemic in the United ...

Article

Eric Bennett

A visitor to Memphis today can still discern the mark of cotton brokerage on the fronts of abandoned offices and warehouses. The visitor can see the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated, hear old and new Blues on Beale Street, and eat barbecued pork ribs in the restaurant owned by blues singer Riley B. (“B. B.”) King.

Memphis sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and was probably named for its geographical similarity to Memphis, Egypt, which flanks the Nile River. Memphis's proximity to the Mississippi River has played a key role in the city's 200-year history. In the antebellum period, regional slave trading and cotton commerce centered on the riverside town. Even after the American Civil War (1861–1865), the economy of Memphis depended on the transport and sale of cotton as well as other goods.

The ...

Article

Nicholas Rinehart

(1909–1965), Guyanese writer, was widely recognized as the first professional novelist to emerge from the Anglophone Caribbean. Mittelhölzer was born 16 December 1909 in New Amsterdam, Berbice in present-day Guyana—then British Guiana—to William Austin Mittelhölzer, a merchant firm clerk and then accountant, and Rosamond Leblanc Mittelhölzer, a homemaker who sold pastries to keep the family financially afloat. His father, whom he would later describe as a “confirmed Negrophobe” in his memoir A Swarthy Boy (1963), claimed Swiss-German ancestry. Mittelhölzer was raised among the urban middle class, attending Berbice High School and resolving to become a professional writer in his teenage years. He began submitting short stories to numerous British periodicals in the 1920s, almost completely without success. Having never attended university, he worked odd jobs to support himself while pursuing a career as a writer. The Daily Chronicle a local newspaper published his first story in ...