a ckno W ledgments
This book began as a collection of readings for the courses on Latin@s,
race, and culture that we have offered at various institutions during the
past twenty years. Initially the experience of Black Latin@s in the United
States formed only a small part of the curriculum in those courses. But as
interest in the African diaspora in the Americas as well as in the United
States continued to grow, so too did the need to address the particularities
of those who, like Afro-Latin@s, bridge various communities even as they
constitute a community in their own right. In more recent years the emer-
gence and expanding network of engaged scholars and activists whose
work focuses on Afro-Latin@s has made possible the conceptualization
and documentation of a whole new field of study and advocacy.
A compilation of this type is by necessity a collective effort and we
have been fortunate in receiving unstinting cooperation from many old
and new collaborators—too many, in fact, for us to mention by name.
Indeed, in the process of putting this book together we have made many
new friends and discovered that the network of Afro-Latin@ enthusiasts is
even more extensive than we had imagined. The supportive response from
all of those we approached has been extremely gratifying and has served
as a vital impetus in bringing this collection to completion. We offer each
of the contributors our heartfelt thanks.
We have been privileged in having access to the archives of collectors
who have long appreciated the importance of Afro-Latin@ history and cul-
ture, and we gratefully acknowledge Henry Medina, José Rafael Méndez,
and Mappy Torres for their contributions.
A number of photographers were especially generous in offering their
work to us. We are sincerely grateful to Máximo Colón, Joe Conzo, Carlos
Flores, Ted Richardson, Javier Santiago, and Cassandra Vinograd for the
images of the many beautiful Afro-Latin@ faces that grace this book.
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