WASHINGTON - Less than five percent of the 11.5 million Africans sold into slavery arrived in the United States and this spring, The Root's editor-in-chief Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the stories of the millions who went to Latin America. "Black in Latin America: The Other African Americans" will air on PBS stations for four consecutive weeks on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. (EST), beginning April 19, 2011. Viewers will learn about the lives and culture of blacks in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Peru and Mexico.
"When many people think about the history of the slave trade and its legacy, it's easy to consider only the story of African Americans in the United States and the lessons that we are still learning today," says Joel Dreyfuss, managing editor for The Root. "However, that's only a small part of the impact of slavery. Brazil has the largest number of citizens of African descent outside of the African continent. This series explores not only how so many African Americans came to Brazil, but also the complexities of race and color that have impacted all of the Latin American countries."
The Black in Latin America series will cover:
Haiti and the Dominican Republic- the birth of the first-ever black republic, in Haiti, and how the Dominican Republic's troubled past with Haiti informs notions about racial classification.
Cuba- how the culture, religion and politics are inextricably linked to the huge amount of slave labor imported to produce the 19th century sugar industry.
Brazil- a look at how the "rainbow nation" is waking up to its legacy as the world's largest slave economy.
Mexico and Peru- the worlds of culture created in two countries that, combined, received far more slaves than the United States beginning as early as the 16th and 17th centuries.
"In the wake of Brazil's selection for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, this series will teach viewers about the history of Latin America that is unknown to many," Dreyfuss explained. "The documentation and recognition of the African American experience has made significant progress in the United States, but the story is incomplete without understanding what happened to the majority of Africans in the slave trade. From the history and culture to the political implications and modern struggles, Black in Latin America tells that story."