Free People of Color in the Spanish Atlantic: Race and Citizenship, 1780–1850

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2021-08-30 22:27Z by Steven

Free People of Color in the Spanish Atlantic: Race and Citizenship, 1780–1850

Routledge
2020-08-07
252 pages
5 b/w Illustrations
Hardback ISBN: 9780367494926
eBook ISBN: 9781003046813

Federica Morelli, Associate Professor of History of the Americas
University of Turin, Turin, Italy

This book grapples with the important contemporary question of the boundaries of citizenship and access to naturalization by analyzing a body of relevant juridical sources, dating from the end of the eighteenth century to the first half of the nineteenth century, concerning the free people of color in late colonial and early independent Spanish America. Their precarious status makes this group a privileged subject to examine the negotiation and formation of racial identity as well as the definition of citizenship requirements in colonial and post-colonial contexts. Based on archival material collected in Spain (Seville and Madrid) and Latin America (Mexico City, Bogotá, Quito, Lima and Buenos Aires), the book demonstrates that the access of free people of color to citizenship both in the late colonial and early independent period was not established by state authorities, but resulted from complex dynamics between the state and the local society.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. Seeking Spaces for Mobility
  • 2. The Revolutions of the Hispanic World: New Citizenship Rights?
  • 3. Between Grace and Rights
  • 4. Race and Equality
  • Conclusion
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A Hard Conversation for the Latino Community

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2020-07-07 02:21Z by Steven

A Hard Conversation for the Latino Community

The New York Times
2020-07-03

Jorge Ramos, Television Anchor
Univision


Ilia Calderón onstage during Univision’s Premio Lo Nuestro 2020 at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, in February. Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Racism is deeply rooted in America’s social system, putting Afro-Latinos at a constant disadvantage.

MIAMI — Every weeknight, I sit down next to my co-anchor Ilia Calderón to host the Spanish-language news program “Noticiero Univision.” Although our many viewers have come to know Ms. Calderón’s face, not many know how much she has had to overcome to sit in that chair. Her story, like that of many Latinos with African ancestry in the United States, is one of tremendous personal achievement, as well as astonishing perseverance in the face of deep-seated racism.

Ms. Calderón was born in the Chocó region of Colombia, a place she describes as “our little Black paradise.” When Ilia was 10, she left home to study in a Catholic school in Medellín, where one of the white students was so disgusted by the color of Ilia’s skin — and so proud of her own fair complexion — that she told Ilia, “You’re Black? Not even my horse is black!” That first encounter with racism in Latin America left a mark on Ilia — one she never forgot.

When she moved to Miami in 2001 to pursue a career in journalism, things weren’t much different. “I had to endure racism in Colombia,” she told me recently, “and it turns out that here I have to face the same thing. It’s how they look at you, how they behave when you are around. …It’s like you have to go through that experience twice: For being Hispanic and also for being Black.”

According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, 24 percent of the roughly 54 million Hispanics living in the United States at the time self-identified as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean or as another, more specific Afro-Latino identity, such as Afro-Colombian. At the same time, 34 percent identified as “mestizo, mulatto or some other mixed race.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Reconstructing Latin America’s African past

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, United States on 2019-01-07 02:13Z by Steven

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past

UCI News
Irvine, California
2019-01-02

Lilibeth Garcia, Social Media Manager

Reconstructing Latin America’s African past
“This has become a collaboration on a worldwide level that now involves anthropologists, linguists, geneticists and musicologists,” says Armin Schwegler, UCI professor of Spanish & Portuguese, of the Palenque project. “It’s become much broader, and we’re learning all kinds of things that were not known just 25 years ago.” Steve Zylius / UCI

UCI professor uses linguistics, DNA to help long-isolated Colombian community descended from escaped slaves find its roots

Thirty years ago, Armin Schwegler traveled to Colombia to visit the Palenque people, an ethnic group dating to the 18th century that speaks a unique, Spanish-based Creole language, Palenquero. The original members were runaway slaves who succeeded in becoming the first officially freed black slaves anywhere in the Americas. Living in virtual isolation for more than 300 years, the Palenqueros have managed to retain their native ancestral culture, much of which originated in sub-Saharan Africa.

“To this day, they are phenotypically the darkest, most ‘African’ community in Latin America,” says Schwegler, a UCI professor of Spanish & Portuguese.

A common misconception is that the slave trade was essentially a North American phenomenon. Actually, Latin America received 96 percent of all African slaves. In the 17th century, Cartagena de Indias – in Colombia – was the region’s main slave market, and it was from this port city that the Palenqueros escaped to become maroons. Their official history was never written down, and until recently, their African origins were completely unknown…

Read the entire article here.

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Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, Women on 2018-10-17 18:00Z by Steven

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America (First Edition)

Routledge
2018-09-04
358 pages
31 B/W Illus.
Paperback: 9781138485303
Hardback: 9781138727021
eBook (VitalSource): 9781315191065

Edited by:

Kwame Dixon, Associate Professor of Political Science
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Ollie A. Johnson III, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Latin America has a rich and complex social history marked by slavery, colonialism, dictatorships, rebellions, social movements and revolutions. Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America explores the dynamic interplay between racial politics and hegemonic power in the region. It investigates the fluid intersection of social power and racial politics and their impact on the region’s histories, politics, identities and cultures.

Organized thematically with in-depth country case studies and a historical overview of Afro-Latin politics, the volume provides a range of perspectives on Black politics and cutting-edge analyses of Afro-descendant peoples in the region. Regional coverage includes Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti and more. Topics discussed include Afro-Civil Society; antidiscrimination criminal law; legal sanctions; racial identity; racial inequality and labor markets; recent Black electoral participation; Black feminism thought and praxis; comparative Afro-women social movements; the intersection of gender, race and class, immigration and migration; and citizenship and the struggle for human rights. Recognized experts in different disciplinary fields address the depth and complexity of these issues.

Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America contributes to and builds on the study of Black politics in Latin America.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Comparative Racial Politics in Latin America – Black Politics Matter [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
  • Part 1: History
    • 1. Beyond Representation: Rethinking Rights, Alliances and Migrations: Three Historical Themes in Afro-Latin American Political Engagement [Darién J. Davis]
    • 2. Recognition, Reparations, and Political Autonomy of Black and Native Communities in the Americas [Bernd Reiter]
    • 3. Pan-Africanism and Latin America [Elisa Larkin Nascimento]
  • Part 2: The Caribbean
    • 4. Black Activism and the State in Cuba [Danielle Pilar Clealand]
    • 5. Correcting Intellectual Malpractice: Haiti and Latin America [Jean-Germain Gros]
    • 6. Black Feminist Formations in the Dominican Republic since La Sentencia [April J. Mayes]
  • Part 3: South America
    • 7. Afro-Ecuadorian Politics [Carlos de la Torre and Jhon Antón Sánchez]
    • 8. In The Branch of Paradise: Geographies of Privilege and Black Social Suffering in Cali, Colombia [Jaime Amparo Alves and Aurora Vergara-Figueroa]
    • 9. The Impossible Black Argentine Political Subject [Judith M. Anderson]
    • 10. Current Representations of “Black” Citizens: Contentious Visibility within the Multicultural Nation [Laura de la Rosa Solano]
  • Part 4: Comparative Perspectives
    • 11. The Contours and Contexts of Afro-Latin American Women’s Activism [Kia Lilly Caldwell]
    • 12. Race and the Law in Latin America [Tanya Katerí Hernández]
    • 13. The Labyrinth of Ethnic-Racial Inequality: a Picture of Latin America according to the recent Census Rounds [Marcelo Paixão and Irene Rossetto]
    • 14. The Millennium/Sustainable Development Goals and Afro-descendants in the Americas: An (Un)intended Trap [Paula Lezama]
  • Conclusion [Kwame Dixon and Ollie A. Johnson III]
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The Rise of the Afro-descendent Identity in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Interviews, Media Archive on 2018-03-30 02:11Z by Steven

The Rise of the Afro-descendent Identity in Latin America

teleSUR
2018-03-04

For Black History Month, Catherine Walsh, professor of Afro-Andean Studies at the University Simon Bolivar in Quito, Ecuador, shares with teleSUR her views about the achievements and challenges for the construction of an Afro-descendent consciousness in Latin America.

What in recent history would you say has contributed to the rise of a Black and Afro-descendent identity, with Black communities now embracing more than ever their culture across the continent?

Yes, this has changed radically. Several moments in recent history are important to highlight: in the 1990s, with the rise of Indigenous movements, alliances were built between Indigenous and Black people like in Ecuador.

But Black communities also began to organize by themselves, involving the construction of a notion of a Black territory, sometimes referred to as the “Gran Comarca” from the South of Panama to the North of Ecuador, where national identity does not matter. Black people living in the region often come from the same families, they have similar last names, and for many years have moved freely over the borders identifying as Afro-descendent and regardless of the national borders…

Read the entire interview here.

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Race, or The Last Colonial Struggle in Latin America

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery on 2018-03-18 01:10Z by Steven

Race, or The Last Colonial Struggle in Latin America

Age of Revolutions
2018-03-12

Jason McGraw, Associate Professor of History
Indiana University, Bloomington


Simón Bolívar emancipa los esclavos de Colombia [Simón Bolívar Frees the Slaves of Colombia], Luis Cancino Fernández, Venezuela, 19th century.

Latin America has long captivated outsiders for its seeming absence of a black-white racial binary, fluidity in racial self-ascriptions, and racially-mixed populations. Latin American elites, for their part, willingly adopted this sense of exceptionalism, and for much of the twentieth century the region gained a reputation as home to so-called racial democracies.1 Yet over the last 30 years, scholars and activists have documented the region’s pervasive anti-black and anti-Indian sentiments and its lack of social mobility for people of African or indigenous descent. Societies once heralded as racially democratic are now exposed for their rampant racist exclusions and inequality, which are often accompanied by fervent disavowals of racism.2

Even as challenges to the myth of racial democracy deserve plaudits, they have arrived with some of their own blinkered assumptions. Like earlier pro-racial democracy polemics, recent critical antiracist scholarship often relies on static notions of culture and ahistorical understandings of Latin America. But what would happen if we pushed back the timeline and examined politics, as well as culture? How would our understanding of Latin America’s racial orders change if we looked at its nineteenth-century revolutionary upheavals?3

Because I can’t cover the entire region or the last two centuries in this blog post, I’ll focus on Colombia, the country I have studied most closely, and on important turning points in the nineteenth-century politics of race. What I hope becomes clear is that both the older myth of racial democracy and increasingly acknowledged racial inequality, each perceived in its own way as an unchanging truth, owe something of their existence to nineteenth-century revolutionary struggles…

Read the entire article here.

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The Work of Recognition: Caribbean Colombia and the Postemancipation Struggle for Citizenship

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2018-03-18 00:40Z by Steven

The Work of Recognition: Caribbean Colombia and the Postemancipation Struggle for Citizenship

University of North Carolina Press
August 2014
344 pages
6.125 x 9.25
6 halftones, 1 map, 4 tables, notes, bibl., index
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1786-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1787-9

Jason McGraw, Associate Professor of History
Indiana University, Bloomington

2015 Michael Jiménez Prize, Colombia Section, Latin American Studies Association

This book tells the compelling story of postemancipation Colombia, from the liberation of the slaves in the 1850s through the country’s first general labor strikes in the 1910s. As Jason McGraw demonstrates, ending slavery fostered a new sense of citizenship, one shaped both by a model of universal rights and by the particular freedom struggles of African-descended people. Colombia’s Caribbean coast was at the center of these transformations, in which women and men of color, the region’s majority population, increasingly asserted the freedom to control their working conditions, fight in civil wars, and express their religious beliefs.

The history of Afro-Colombians as principal social actors after emancipation, McGraw argues, opens up a new view on the practice and meaning of citizenship. Crucial to this conception of citizenship was the right of recognition. Indeed, attempts to deny the role of people of color in the republic occurred at key turning points exactly because they demanded public recognition as citizens. In connecting Afro-Colombians to national development, The Work of Recognition also places the story within the broader contexts of Latin American popular politics, culture, and the African diaspora.

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Fighting for Black Lives in Colombia: ‘The People Do Not Give Up, Damn It’

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Justice on 2017-07-05 22:21Z by Steven

Fighting for Black Lives in Colombia: ‘The People Do Not Give Up, Damn It’

The Root
2017-07-01

Lori S. Robinson


iStock

Editor’s note: This story is the first in a three-part series looking at the fight for rights of black people in Colombia. This first piece explores the history of Afro-Colombians and the impact of the recently ended war with the FARC. Subsequent stories will examine the current political environment. 

Black activism started in Colombia when Africans arrived in chains.

Spaniards were early kingpins in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, first importing kidnapped Africans into what was then New Granada in the 1520s—a century before the British brought this epic crime against humanity to North America.

Concentrated along the country’s Pacific coast, enslaved people were forced to do agricultural labor and, primarily, to mine gold. This region became majority black during colonial times. It still is…

…Colombia never had legal segregation after slavery, like the United States. The national narrative of Colombia, like most of Latin America, has been that inequality is economic, not racial, and that significant racial mixing throughout the country’s history proves that racism doesn’t exist. According to Perea, Colombians have gone so far as to say that “racism was solely an expression of North American culture.”

Meanwhile, the largest numbers of black Colombians have been isolated, abandoned by their own government, without educational or employment opportunities, living in poverty…

Read the entire article here.

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Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Social Science on 2017-05-03 02:22Z by Steven

Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Duke University Press
2017-05-05
328 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6358-3
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-6373-6
12 illustrations

Peter Wade, Professor of Social Anthropology
University of Manchester

Race mixture, or mestizaje, has played a critical role in the history, culture, and politics of Latin America. In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia. He shows how Latin American elites and outside observers have emphasized mixture’s democratizing potential, depicting it as a useful resource for addressing problems of racism (claiming that race mixture undoes racial difference and hierarchy), while Latin American scientists participate in this narrative with claims that genetic studies of mestizos can help isolate genetic contributors to diabetes and obesity and improve health for all. Wade argues that, in the process, genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region, but a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics. Wade examines the tensions between mixture and purity, and between equality and hierarchy in liberal political orders, exploring how ideas and scientific data about genetic mixture are produced and circulate through complex networks.

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With images of people of various skin tones, urban Afro-Colombians as well as farmers and people in traditional clothes, and music in the background that was not easily identifiable with any specific region in the country, the commercial’s message was clear: they were all AfroColombian.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-01-10 19:31Z by Steven

The Beautiful Faces commercial was about thirty seconds long: ‘I am negro, morena, mulata, zamba. I am Afro-descendant. I count. Palenquero, raizal, mulato, negra, I count. Afro-descendant, morena, negra. I’m zambo, raizal. I count. Palenquero, negro.’ It ended with the confident words of Maria Eugenia Arboleda, a famous AfroColombian actress: ‘My people, in this census, count yourself!’ This was followed by the some fifteen Afro-Colombians featured in the commercial exclaiming in unison: ‘Proud to be Afro-Colombian!’ With images of people of various skin tones, urban Afro-Colombians as well as farmers and people in traditional clothes, and music in the background that was not easily identifiable with any specific region in the country, the commercial’s message was clear: they were all AfroColombian.

Tianna S. Paschel, “‘The Beautiful Faces of my Black People’: race, ethnicity and the politics of Colombia’s 2005 census,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 36, Issue 10 (2013). 11-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2013.791398.

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