Whether it’s Hollywood, history books, telenovelas, or fashion magazines, Afro-Latinos have often been left out of what it means to be Latinx. But, in each and every Latin American country, there is a Black population, and with it, a specific Afro-Latinx culture and history.
Thanks to many individuals and groups whose work it is to shine a light and gain attention and acceptance of Afro-Latinxs in every arena where Latinxs are seen, we are seeing progress. But, there is still so much to learn. We want to be a part of this fight and shine much-needed light on our Afro-Latinx brothers and sisters. One way to do this is through literature, so we compiled a list of several books that will teach you about Afro-Latinx history.
The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States (a John Hope Franklin Center Book), by Miriam Jiménez Román (Editor), Juan Flores (Editor)
The Afro-Latin@ Reader, edited by Miriam Jiménez and Juan Flores, takes a look at Afro-Latinx history and culture right here in the U.S. According to the book’s description on Amazon, the book “addresses history, music, gender, class, and media representations in more than sixty selections, including scholarly essays, memoirs, newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, short stories, and interviews.” The Afro-Latin@ Reader aims to help dispel the notion that Black and Latinx are always two different identities.
Available at amazon.com, $29.48
Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora, by Marta Moreno Vega (Author, Editor), Marinieves Alba (Author, Editor), Yvette Modestin (Author, Editor)
Women’s narratives and history is suppressed within the suppression of Black narratives and history. Martha Moreno Vega, Marinieves Alba, and Yvette Modestin’s Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora gives these women back their voice through stories from several contributors that tackle race, colonialism, machismo, inequality, and more throughout Latin America.
Available at barnesandnoble.com, $24.95
Afro-Latin American Studies: An Introduction, by Alejandro de la Fuente and George Reid Andrews
To get a solid start in learning about Afro-Latinx culture and history, we recommend Alejandro de la Fuente and George Reid Andrews’ Afro-Latin American Studies: An Introduction. The book covers several different topics, including “Afro-Indigenous Interactions, Relations, and Comparisons,” “Racial Democracy and Racial Inclusion,” and “Afro-Latin American Art.” With two scholars behind this publication, you’ll feel like you’re taking an official course on Afro-Latinx identity.
Available at powells.com, $39.95
Afro-Latin America: 1800-2000, by George Reid Andrews
Another book by scholar George Reid Andrews that dedicates itself to Afro-Latinx history and culture is Afro-Latin America: 1800-2000. It covers two hundred years of Afro-Latinxs and every country in Latin America in which there is a Black population. Such a broad time frame allows the reader to learn about and understand the entire journey of Afro-Latinxs from slavery, to emancipation, to what Afro-Latinxs have done in and for their communities ever since.
Available at AbeBooks.com, $11.57
Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil (Afro-Latin America), by Yuko Miki
In addition to books that cover the Afro-Latinx experience across Latin America in general, some take a deep dive into a specific Latin American country and its Black population. Yuko Miki’s Frontiers of Citizenship: A Black and Indigenous History of Postcolonial Brazil focuses on the South American nation and both their Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous peoples. According to its description on Amazon, “Miki argues that the exclusion of and inequality of indigenous and African-descended people became embedded in the very construction of Brazil’s remarkably inclusive nationhood.”
Available at cambridge.org, $29.99
Afro-Mexicans: Discourse of Race and Identity in the African Diaspora, by Chege Githoria
Another book that delves into the Afro-Latinx history of a particular Latin American country is Afro-Mexicans: Discourse of Race and Identity in the African Diaspora, by Chege Githiora. For a country that prides itself on its amazing culture and history, it’s imperative to learn about and include Afro-Mexicans in this overall narrative. This book helps make that happen.
Available at blackwells.co.uk, $29.95
Black and Green: Afro-Colombians, Development, and Nature in the Pacific Lowlands, by Kiran Asher
Kiran Asher’s book Black and Green: Afro-Colombians, Development, and Nature in the Pacific Lowlands takes us to the Chocó region of Colombia to learn about its Black population. The time period covers the 1990s, when Colombia passed Law 70, promising Afro-Colombian communities development, cultural and ethnic rights, and “collective land ownership.” Meanwhile, groups in Colombia and abroad were fighting to protect the area’s biodiversity.
Available at dukeupress.com, $26.95
Afro-Latino Voices: Narratives from the Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550-1812, by Kathryn Joy McKnight (Editor), Leo J. Garofalo (Editor)
African voices were often silenced, ignored, and not documented when Africans were kidnapped from their land and forced to labor in other countries. Through the work of people like Kathryn Joy McKnight and Leo J. Garofalo, these experiences are being shared with the world. Their book Afro-Latino Voices: Narratives from the Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic World, 1550-1812, goes back centuries to speak directly on the lives of Africans in Latin America.
Available at abebookscom, $14.74
Black in Latin America, by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
You may have seen Henry Louis Gates’ PBS documentary Black in Latin America. Did you know that this look into the Afro-Latinx experience across several Latin American countries is also a book? The publication takes you on a trip to Cuba, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru, and the cultures and history of the Black populations who live there.
Available at barnesandnoble.com, $26.00
The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900, George Reid Andrews
When you picture Argentinians, there’s a good chance you think about those who are mostly descended from Italians versus Afro-Argentines. Along with the Indigenous peoples of the South American nation, this population has been omitted from Argentina’s history and culture; thankfully, books like George Reid Andrews’ The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires: 1800-1900 seek to correct this wrong, writing Afro-Argentines back into Argentina’s history and culture.
Available at amazon.com, $69.95
Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America, Edward Telles
To understand part of the Afro-Latinx experience, one must know how race has been dissected, categorized, and judged within Latin America for centuries. Edward Telle’s Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America takes this subject on as part of the multi-year Project on Ethnicity and Race in Latin America (PERLA). The project looked at race and ethnicity in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as the “ethnoracial history” of each country.
Available at amazon.com, $34.95