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You're funny. A 50-state history spanning 600 years of a people whose "identity politics" were invisible in The Literature until The Cultural Revolution of the 20th century. In a diary.

I might be able to compile a bibliography of less than 3,500 words. Over the next few weeks. Let me give that a whirl. hmmm, random selection from the stacks ...

Jan Carew, Fulcrums of Change (1988)

Peter Martyr, the first major historian of the Americas, and a reasonably reliable source considering that he never set foot in the Indies or the mainland territories, mentions in passing that the Pinzón brothers of whom Martin Alonso was Columbus' chief pilot and one of his principal partners in his "Enterprise of the Indies," were everywhere known as "Negro Pinzóns." These brothers, as both their Spanish names and their reputations as renowned seamen indicates, were Afro-Spanish and middle-class. They were also much better off financially than Columbus since they could afford to make a substantial monetary investment in his first voyage. ...

After the first voyage, the chronicle of the Black presence takes on new dimensions: In 1513, thirty Negroes helped Balboa hack his way throught the tropical undergrowth to reach the Pacific Ocean. There were Black soldiers with Ponce de Leon, when he set out to find the Fountain of Youth, and inadvertantly landed on the Florida coast. Langston Hughes in his Famous Negro Heroes of America [1958], wrote:

'When Hernando Cortez invaded Mexico in 1519, one of the Negroes in his army of 700 found in his ration of rice one day some grains of wheat. These he planted, and is so credited with introducing the first wheat onto the mainland of the New World. And by 1523 there were so many Negroes in Mexico that it was decided to limit their entrance since it was thought they might try to seize the ruling powers from the Spaniards --as indeed some in 1537 were accused of plotting to do.' ...

Herrera [y Tordesillas, Antonio] had actually lived and travelled extensively in the New World. Here is his chronicle of events that took place between 1531 and 1548.

  1. Negroes born in America were found to be better laborers than those brought from Guinea.

  2. The king (of Spain) had sent the force of two ships to make war on the Caribs ...It was the general opinion that the troubles on this land [Puerto Rico] were caused by negro slaves, Wolofs and Berberici, and so the king was asked to send more.

'1533. The Wolofs of San Juan were declared to be haughty, disobedient, rebellious, and incorrigible, and could not be taken to any part of the Indies without express permission.

  1. In Quivira, Mexico, there was a Negro who had taken holy ecclesiastic Orders.

  2. There was established at Guamanga, three Brotherhoods of the True Cross of Spaniards, one for the Indians, and one for Negroes.

  3. An uprising of Negroes took place in Sand Pedro of Honduras.'*

------
* L. Weiner, Africa and the Discovery of America, vol I (1920)

See also

Zora Neale Hurston, WPA ethnography

Adam Clayton Powells, Sr, Jr

Barbara Walters, Audition

::

Not whatcha call "our better history," eh?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jan 21st, 2009 at 10:04:36 AM EST
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