A UNC Press Reading List to Accompany the PBS series “Black in Latin America”

PBS is currently airing a documentary series entitled “Black in Latin America” with renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. at the helm of the 4-part project.  The series provides an in-depth look at the ways in which people and cultures of African descent have influenced Latin America over the years.

The four episodes treat different areas and cultures of Latin America such as “Haiti & the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided,”  “Mexico & Peru: A Hidden Race In Mexico and Peru,” and “Brazil: A Racial Paradise?” The very comprehensive series website includes a bibliography that features several UNC Press titles as valuable resources on the series’ topics. The third of the four episodes, “Cuba: The Next Revolution In Cuba” airs tonight.  Here are some of the titles listed in the bibliography along with some others that deal with race relations surrounding Cuba’s independence.

Measures of Equality: Social Science, Citizenship, and Race in Cuba, 1902-1940, by Alejandra Bronfman looks at the role race played in forming the idea of citizenship in the years following Cuba’s independence.

In  A Nation for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba, author Alejandro de la Fuente looks at the social and political challenges and opportunities that Afro-Cubans encountered in the early 20th century.

Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898, by Ada Ferrer looks at the ways nationalists of all races combined forces to attempt to move toward an anti-racist nation in the years leading up to Cuba’s independence.

In Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow, Frank Andre Guridy looks at the transcultural relationship and aspects of shared history between Afro-Cubans and African Americans.


In Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886-1912,  Aline Helg looks at the tension between racism and anti-racism after the abolition of slavery and around the turn of the century following Cuba’s independence.




The final episode of “Black in Latin America” will deal with race relations in Brazil.  Terms of Inclusion: Black Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Brazil by Paulina L. Alberto illustrates how black intellectuals in Brazil shape discourse on race, culture, and politics.  Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil’s Northeast by Jan Hoffman French looks at how laws play a role in shaping identities and gaining rights and recognition for two related communities in northeastern Brazil.


Race and Nation in Modern Latin America, edited by Karin Alejandra Rosemblatt, Nancy P. Appelbaum and Anne S. Macpherson, combines the insights of renown contributors on issues of race and identity in Latin America and the Caribbean across many different disciplines.  Mastery, Tyranny, & Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World, by Trevor Burnard provides insight into the complex relationship and power dynamic between land owners and slaves through the diary entries of plantation owner Thomas Thistlewood.  George Reid Andrews’ Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay offers a history of Afro-Uruguayans and illustrates how candombe, a particular genre of African Bantu music, is not just central to Afro-Uruguayan culture but also helped unite Uruguay’s white and black citizens.




James H. Sweet has authored two titles that explore the African diaspora in the Atlantic world. Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World looks at the links between healing, religion, and politics through the life and work  of a vodun healer. Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770 examines the lives and journeys of slaves from central Africa in Brazil and how they continued their cultural practices under efforts of Portuguese colonization.

Don’t forget to check out the series bibliography for more, and tune in tonight!