Did You Know that most enslaved Africans were shipped to places in the Caribbean and South America? By far the largest percentage of enslaved Africans toiled away in sugar plantations in the tropics of Latin America. Take a look at the map below (sourced from: latinamericanstudies.org) and you will find over 5 million slaves were forced across the Atlantic to places like Bahia and Rio de Janeiro Brazil or Jamaica and Cuba in the Caribbean.
Many enslaved Africans were shipped to Latin America to feed the incessant need for labor on sugar plantations and caudillos, or tobacco/coffee/banana plantations. Where most were worked tireless until they either died of exhaustion or disease. Unlike the U.S., slavery in Latin America was far more characterized by short-life spans due to the intense equatorial climates during the harvest periods; thus the need for more and more slaves.
Today, however, slavery is in no longer with us, but it’s legacy still remains, in the African inflected cultures throughout Latin America and shared struggles of the Black experience. This summer the BCC has sponsored a study abroad trip to Brazil, for several lucky young scholars, to reach out across our Black Diaspora and cultivate learning experiences between people who share the long memory of enslavement.
The course will be the another step by the BCC to promote a global (Black) perspective, which acknowledges the vast reaches of the Black diaspora. The Black diaspora largely speaks with a Spanish accent and dances to the syncretic rhythms of drum choruses hailing never-forgotten African cosmologies. Both African Americans and Afro-Latinos have many experiences to share and learn from, when we take on a truly global perspective by including ourselves in a Black diaspora that goes far beyond national borders, in our scholarship and community engagement.
Coming this Fall the Black Cultural Center will be doing just that in our celebration of the quintessentially Black festival of Carnival.
Make sure to also check out the BCC’s social media platform, including WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, and Delicious for updates throughout the summer!