The Black History Moment Series #29: Black in Latin America, Afro-Latin American, Black Hispanic And Latino Americans.


By Jueseppi B.




Throughout the month Of February, TheObamaCrat™ will post a daily series called The Black History Moment Series. Each day for 28 days of this historic month you will be given the food of Black History to satisfy your hunger for knowledge. 


Celebrating Black History Month. The Black History Moment Series #29: Black in Latin America, Afro-Latin American, Black Hispanic And Latino Americans.





Here is the link to the complete Black History Moment Series. You can find the complete Black History Month 2014 Series in it’s entirety. The Black History Moment Series, #1 thru #29, includes a bonus post about Ms. Rosa Parks, which celebrates her 101st birthday….


In Case You Missed This Series….Black History Month 2014 Presents: Celebrating Black History Month; The Black History Moment Series.





Are you confused by the title of this Black History Moment Series? So was I before starting this piece. You see what we are not taught in school is that African people were by nature a nomadic people, meaning they couldn’t sit still, and moved around quite a bit, populating many regions of the planet.


An Afro-Latin American (also Afro-Latino in the United States) is a Latin American person of native Sub-Saharan African ancestry; the term may also refer to historical or cultural elements in Latin America thought to emanate from this community. The term can refer to the mixing of African and other cultural elements found in Latin American society such as religionmusiclanguage, the arts and social class.


The term Afro-Latin American, as used in this article refers specifically to African ancestry and not to European colonial or North African/Middle Eastern ancestry, such as White South African or Arab/Berber Moroccan ancestry. The term is not widely used in Latin America outside of academic circles. Normally Afro Latin Americans are called “black” (in Spanish negro, in Portuguese negro or preto). More commonly, when referring to cultural aspects of African origin within specific countries of Latin America, terms carry an Afro- prefix followed by the relevant nationality. Notable examples include Afro-Cuban (Spanish:Afro Cubano) and Afro-Brazilian; however, usage varies considerably from nation to nation.


The accuracy of statistics reporting on Afro-Latin Americans has been questioned, especially where they are derived from census reports in which the subjects choose their own designation, because in various countries the concept of black ancestry is viewed with differing attitudes.




Many people of Black African origin arrived in the Americas with the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. Pedro Alonso Niño, traditionally considered the first of many New World explorers of Black African descent was a navigator in the 1492 Columbus expedition. Those who were directly from West Africa mostly arrived in Latin America as part of the Atlantic slave trade, as agricultural, domestic, and menial laborers and as mineworkers. They were also employed in mapping and exploration (for example, Estevanico) and were even involved in conquest (for example, Juan Valiente). They were mostly brought from West Africa and Central Africa in what are now the nations of NigeriaGhanaBenin,Angola, and Congo.


There are six major groups: the YorubaIgboHausaEweAkan, and the Bantu (mostly Zulu). Most of the slaves were sent to Brazil, and theCaribbean, but lesser numbers went to Colombia and Venezuela. Countries with significant black, mulatto, or zambo populations today include Brazil (c, 100 million, if including the pardo Brazilian population), Haiti (8.7 million), Dominican Republic (up to 10 million), Cuba (up to 7 million), Colombia (5 million) and Puerto Rico. Recent genetic research in UPR Mayaguez has brought to light that 26.4% of Puerto Ricans have Black African heritage on the X chromosome and 20% on the Y chromosome, thus between 20%–46% of the Puerto Rican population has African heritage. (For more on this see Demographics of Puerto Rico).


Traditional terms for Afro-Latin Americans with their own developed culture include Garífuna (in NicaraguaHondurasGuatemala and Belize),cafuzo (in Brazil), and zambo in the Andes and Central AmericaMarabou is a term of Haitian origin denoting a Haitian of multiracial ethnicity. The term describes the offspring of a Black African/European or mulatto and an Amerindian, specifically the native Taíno, born in Haiti (formerly Saint-Domingue). The heavy population of Africans on the island established by the French and Spanish diluted the generations of so-called “marabous” over the decades, and virtually all Haitians today of Amerindian descent are assumed to also possess Black African ancestry. Several other terms exist for the “marabou” racial mixture in other countries.


The mix of these African cultures with the Spanish, Portuguese, French, and indigenous cultures of Latin America has produced many unique forms of language (e.g., PalenqueroGarífuna and Creole), religions (e.g., CandombléAbakuáSanteríaLucumi and Vodou), music (e.g., kompasalsa,BachataPuntaPalo de Mayoplenasambamerenguecumbia) martial arts (capoeira) and dance (rumbamerengue). Many of these cultural expressions have become pervasive in Latin America.


Racial and ethnic distinctions

Terms used within Latin America which pertain to black heritage include mulato (black – white mixture), zambo/chino(indigenous – black mixture) and pardo (black – native – white mixture) and mestizo, which refers to an indigenous – white mixture in all cases except for in Venezuela, where it is used in place of pardo. The term mestizajerefers to the intermixing or fusing of races, whether by mere custom or deliberate policy. In Latin America this happened extensively between all the racial groups and cultures, but usually involved European men and indigenous and Black African women. Unions of white females and non-white males were taboo.


Black in Latin America E03, Mexico and Peru: The Black Grandma in the Closet


Uploaded on Jun 23, 2011

In Mexico and Peru Professor Gates explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people—the two countries together received far more slaves than did the United States —brought to these countries as early as the 16th and 17th centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific, and in and around Lima, Peru.






Black In Latin America (Episode 1) Haiti and The Dominican Republic- The Roots of Division




Black in Latin America ( Episode 2 ) Cuba The Next Revolution




Black Hispanic and Latino Americans


In the United States, a Black Hispanic or Afro Hispanic (Spanish: Afrohispano, literally, “Afro Hispanic”) is an American citizen or resident who is officially classified by the United States Census BureauOffice of Management and Budget and other U.S. government agencies as a Black American of Hispanic descent.” For further discussion on the term African American, please see that article.


Hispanicity, which is independent of race, is the only ethnic category, as opposed to racial category, which is officially collated by the U.S. Census Bureau. The distinction made by government agencies for those within the population of any official race category, including “African American”, is between those who report Hispanic backgrounds and all others who do not. In the case of Blacks of Latin decent, these two groups are respectively termed “Black Hispanics/Afro American Hispanics” and “non-Hispanic Black Americans/non-Hispanic Black Americans”, the former being those who report Black African ethnicity as well as a Hispanic ancestral background (Spain and Hispanic Latin America), and the latter consisting of an ethnically diverse collection of all others who are classified as Black or African Americans that do not report Hispanic ethnic backgrounds.


Demographic information

Black Hispanics account for 2.5% of the entire U.S. Hispanic population. Most Black Hispanics in the United States come from within the Colombian, Venezuelan, Puerto Rican and Dominican populations. The Cuban and Panamanian communities also have large numbers of black Hispanics.


The main aspects which distinguish Black Hispanics born in the United States from African Americans is their mother tongue Spanish or most recent ancestors’ native language, their culture passed down by their parents, and their Spanish surnames. There is also increasing intermarriages and offspring between non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics of any race, especially between Cubans, Dominicans, Colombians and Puerto Ricans with African Americans, which increases both the Hispanic ethnic and black racial demographics.


Since the early days of the movie industry in the U.S., when Black Hispanic actors were given roles, they would usually be cast as African Americans. For those with Spanish-speaking accents that betrayed an otherwise presumed African American, they may seldom have been given roles as Hispanics, and the mulatto Hispanic and Latino actors of African appearance are mostly given Hispanic roles.


Those who claim that Black Hispanics are not sought to play Hispanic roles in the U.S. allege this unfairly leads the masses of viewers to an ignorance to the existence of darker skinned Hispanics. Further, some Black Hispanics who identify themselves as black but of also mixed race once affirming their Hispanicity may be deprived of their status as Black people among African Americans, and categorized by society as non-Black in the U.S. historical context.


Same situation happens in U.S. Hispanic media; critics accuse U.S. Hispanic media, including Latin American media, of overlooking black Hispanic and Latino Americans and black Latin Americans in the telenovelas, mostly stereotyping them as impoverished people.



Black in Latin America ( Episode 3 ) Brazil A Racial Paradise




Black in Latin America ( Episode 4 ) Mexico Peru A Hidden Race




Black Hispanic culture

Although Black Hispanics are often overlooked or dichotomized as either “black” or “hispanic” in the United States, Black Hispanic writers often reflect upon their racialized experience in their works. The most commonly used term in literature to speak of this ambiguity and multilayered hybridity at the heart of Latino/a identity and culture is miscegenation. This “mestizaje” depicts the multi-faceted racial and cultural identity that characterize Black Hispanics and highlights that each individual Black Hispanic has a unique experience within a broader racial and ethnic range. The memoirs, poetry, sociological research, and essays written by the following Afro-Latino writers reflect this concept of mestizaje in addition to revealing the confusion and uncertainty about one’s self-image of being both “Black” and “Hispanic”. The psychological and social factors also prove to be central in determining how one ultimately defines him/herself



Racial category Racial types Included
white rubio
blanco jipato
white-mulatto range blanco jojoto
indio lavado
indio claro
trigüeño claro
mulatto pinto
pinto jovero
indio canelo
black-mulatto range trigüeño oscuro
indio quemao
black moreno



Some women claim a self-identity as both Black and Hispanic, unlike many other Dominican women. One woman said, “I’m still Dominican, but there is no question in my mind that I’m also African. I describe myself as a black Hispanic woman. I’m black, but that’s not all I am. ”


What’s it like to be Latino – and black?


Published on Dec 20, 2011

Afro-Latinos talk about their experiences identifying with both their black and Latino heritage.




Black and Latino


What does it mean to be black and Latino in the U.S.? Featuring interviews with Latino actors Laz Alonso (“Avatar”, “Jumping the Broom”), Tatyana Ali (“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), Gina Torres (“Suits, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”) and Judy Reyes (“Scrubs”), musicians Christina Milian (“Dip it Low”) and Kat DeLuna (“Whine Up”), and journalist Soledad O’Brien (CNN), among many others.








From Huffington Post:


Black In Latin America



I first learned that there were black people living in some place called other than the United States in the western hemisphere when I was a very little boy, and my father told me that when he was a boy about my age, he wanted to be an Episcopal priest, because he so admired his priest, a black man from someplace called Haiti. I knew that there were black people in Africa, of course, unfortunately because of movies such as Tarzan. And then, when I was 9-years-old in 1960, our fifth grade class studied “Current Affairs,” and we learned about the 17 African nations that gained their independence that year. I did my best to memorize the names of these countries and their leaders, though I wasn’t quite sure why I found these facts so very appealing.


But it wouldn’t be until I was an undergraduate at Yale, and was enrolled in my sophomore year, 1969, in Robert Farris Thompson’s art history class, “The Trans-Atlantic Tradition: From Africa to the Black Americas,” that I began to understand how “black” the New World really was. Professor Thompson used a methodology that he called the “tri-continental approach” — complete with three slide projectors — to trace visual leitmotifs that recurred among African, African American, and Afro-descended artistic traditions and artifacts in the Caribbean and Latin America, to show, a la Melville Herskovits, the retention of what he called “Africanisms” in the New World. So in a very real sense, I would have to say, my fascination with Afro-descendants in this hemisphere, south of the United States, began in 1969, in Professor Thompson’s very popular, and extremely entertaining and rich, art history lecture course.


In addition, Sidney Mintz’s anthropology courses and his scholarly focus on the history of the role of sugar and plantation slavery in the Caribbean and Latin America also served to awaken my curiosity about another black world, a world south of our borders. And I owe so much of what I know about Pan-Africanism in the Old World and the New World to these two wise and generous professors.


But the full weight of the African presence in the Caribbean and Latin America didn’t hit me until I became familiar with “The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database,” started by the great historian, David Eltis, and his colleagues. Between 1502 and 1866, 11.2 million Africans survived the dreadful Middle Passage and landed as slaves in the New World. And here is where these statistics became riveting to me: of these 11.2 million Africans, according to Eltis and his colleagues, only 450,000 arrived in the United States. That is the mind-boggling part, to me, and I think to most Americans.


All the rest arrived in places south of our border. About 4.8 million Africans went to Brazil alone. So, in one sense, the major “African American Experience,” as it were, unfolded not in the United States, as those of us caught in the embrace of what we might think of as”African American Exceptionalism,” but throughout the Caribbean and South America, if we are thinking of this phenomenon in terms of sheer numbers alone.


About a decade ago, I decided that I would try to make a documentary series about these Afro-descendants, a four hour series about race and black culture in the western hemisphere outside of the United States and Canada. And I filmed this series this past summer, focusing on six countries, including Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru, choosing each country as representative of a larger phenomenon. This series is the third in a trilogy that began with Wonders of the African World, a six-part series that aired in 1998. This was followed by America Behind the Color Line, a four-part series that aired in 2004.


In a sense, I wanted to replicate the points in Robert Farris Thompson’s “Tri-Continental” approach to what some scholars called African retentions; another way to think of it is that I wanted to replicate the points of the Atlantic triangular trade among Africa, the European colonies of the Caribbean and South America, and Black America. Black in Latin America, another four hour series, is the third part of this trilogy, and this book expands considerably upon what I was able to include in that series. You might say that I have been fortunate enough to find myself over the past decade in a most curious position: to be able to make films about subjects about which I am curious, and about which I know nothing, or very little, with the generous assistance of many scholars in these fields.


The most important question that this book attempts to explore is this: what does it mean to be “black” in these countries? Who is considered “black,” and under what circumstances, and by whom in these societies, the answers to which vary widely across Latin America in ways that will surprise most people in the United States. As my former colleague, the Duke anthropologist Randy Matory, recently put this to me: “Are words for various shades of African descent in Brazil, such as mulattoes, cafusos, pardos, morenos, pretos, negros, etc., types of ‘Black people,” or are pretos and negros just the most African-looking people in a multi-directional cline of skin-color-facial feature-hair texture combinations?” And how does wealth or class enter the picture? Matory asks.


“And suppose two people with highly familiar phenotypes are classified differently according to how wealthy and educated they are, on the same person is described differently depending upon how polite, how intimate, or how nationalistic the speaker wants to be? In what contexts does the same word have a pejorative connotation, justifying the translation of ‘nigger,’ and in another context connote affection, such as the word ‘negrito?'”


You can read an excerpt from Black In Latin America here.


Thank you  & The Huffington Post.


See also



Still a bit confused? Think of the Negro race as water in a jar, life sustaining H2O…….


H2o Water Drops On Blue Background


Once you pour that water from that jar, it’s impossible to control where that water travels. As water is impossible to guide or contain, so is the Negro race. Even if you put water in a reservoir…some escapes into the concrete. Even attempting to put Negros into the reservoir of slavery, some of it escaped into the concrete of freedom.


Anywhere you travel on this vast planet we call earth, you will find a person of color, who has descended from Africa.


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24 replies »

    • I am learning so much about MY Black History I never knew. Thank you so much for your words of support, you always manage to bring a smile to my face.


  1. I will have more videos here than I can watch in a year! These are superb. With my husband being from Peru I can attest to these sources. Peru has a large Asian population as well.


    • Well, you just watch what you can and don’t worry about what you miss. They will always be here when you have some down time. How are you this Saturday?


      • Today is a ‘me’ day; I must answer letters, e-mails and Christmas cards. An Iowa uncle passed away the other day and it has made me very sad. This man is not among the gun-nuts of the south, this man was pure gentleness. As a child I used to laugh at him scolding his children because you couldn’t tell the difference between his talking voice and his yelling voice.🙂 My dad asked him once if he wanted him to show him how it’s done. This uncle volunteered his entire life for the common good as he was in several service organizations. His favorite was the Lions Club since they worked for the blind and sight impaired. My aunt was a very lucky woman. They had two children who have become successful adults.

        I added the last installment to my list so I have all the URLs. I appreciate all of them.

        Did you have a chance to read my latest post? I tell about how awful I was and my stint in jail.


        Enjoy Italy!


      • Christmas Cards….it’s March!! U need an assistant. I did read your latest post just now. I like the sound of your Uncle in Iowa. He sounds like a good man. Bless you for your loss and I hope U remember the good times in your grieving.


      • We do not celebrate Christmas, everyone knows but some insist on sending them anyway. I used to get more done before the stroke and now I have no use of my right arm. The last few days I’ve had to resort to using ibuprofen for pain down the length of my right side. As bad as it is, it’s still not as bad as my brother’s pain. He has a pain-pump implant and the battery has been dead for three years.

        Thank you, for those thoughts. My uncle was 85 and completely disabled since 2003 from a stroke. His daughter said “it was time” because she was close to her dad and mom both. The past 11 years have been very difficult for everyone, especially him. I like to celebrate the life.

        Thank you for the re-blog. I expected a comment on my jail time but nobody has mentioned it yet.

        I feel it’s time to go look at the back of my eyelids for a while.🙂


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