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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The African Presence in the Americas










I’m back on the block! I’ve been away at camp. This was my first overnight camp experience and it was great. I’m ready to roll with the info. My city of Philadelphia, like many cities in the United States, has a growing and diverse Spanish-speaking community. I find this fact very exciting. I play kickball with a couple of boys from the Dominican Republic. I use to go to school with a boy from Costa Rica. I love that I can easily get tamales wrapped in corn husk (Mexican-style) or have tamales wrapped in plantain leaves ( Honduras-style). I love that The Philadelphia Art Museum just had a major exhibition of Frida Kahlo’s paintings. Frida Kahlo was a great Mexican painter. You already know some of the Spanish-speaking music I listen to. ( Check out the sidebar on the left and listen, again,-Lila Downs and the B-Side Players.)
I am slowly getting an appreciation of just how diverse these communities really are. For example, I don’t think most non-Latin Americans know that there are communities of people of African descent in Mexico, Central and South America. On of my favorite writers is Veronica Chambers. She is an African-American of Panamanian descent-her family is from Panama. Veronica Chambers writes about everything including Latin communities in the U.S. Give a read-out to Marisol and Magdalena: The Sound of Our Sisterhood, Quinceanera Means 15 and Celia Cruz; Queen of Salsa. These are great books that feature African-Hispanic characters.


Also, The African-American Museum in Philadelphia is featuring a special exhibition called The African Presence in Mexico; From Yanga to the Present. This exhibition celebrates the African legacy in Mexico and the Americas. The exhibition closes October 25th.


The African-American Museun

701 Arch Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

215-574-0380

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