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Embrace the wide African Diaspora and all its faces

Black Caribbean Literature (BCL)
Swain,Jeffrey (Author)
Newspaper Article
Publication Date:
Mar 13-Mar 19, 2014
Coral Springs, FL
African American Research Center, Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject Term:
United States, Blacks, Slavery, Latin America, African diaspora, Latin American history
Blacks and Latinos have numerous historical connections. The moors of North Africa occupied Spain from about 700-1400 A.D., about the time of the Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Additionally, the slave trade which began with [Henry Louis Gates] the Navigator flourished from the 1440s, taking Africans into Portugal and Spain as servants. Many conquistadors of the New World brought with them free men of African ancestry. Finally, the Transatlantic Slave Trade sealed Afro-Hispanic connections as slaves intermingled voluntarily and involuntarily with their captors, creating variations in our color palate. Thus, our connections are longstanding. My point is that the African Diaspora experience, as was evidenced on Oscar night, is diverse and includes influences of blacks in Europe, Africa and all the Americas and the Caribbean. There are strands of the Diaspora in the Middle East, including Arab nations, and in places as unlikely as Mexico and China. So, blacks in America must begin to embrace our global heritage and we must also learn that our experiences are not superior but mere pieces of a wider tapestry of "colors." All are worth celebrating, researching and understanding. We are one great people cast to the winds by emigration and immigration, historical slavery, war, racial mixing and chance.