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Bomba and Chicken: Afro-Latinas in the United States

The Bomba Dance and Drum were created by enslaved Africans who worked on sugar cane plantations. They were used to accompany them as they danced to celebrate life events, births, weddings, etc. In Afro-Latin culture, the most basic aspect is the African component.

On the North American Continent, the conquistadors came with Black Spaniards on their ships in the early days of Florida, and those blacks became part of the creation of the those colonies conquistadors created. Yet no mention (or credit) is given or made of them.

Due to very little literature written about the African Footprint in Spanish speaking countries and here in the United States, many people, especially educators, do not know of its existence. This brings me to my unit focusing on Afro-Latinas in the United States.

Many blend in well with African American communities phenotypically, but even though they are of African descent, they are not African American. They are Latinas, Spanish speakers with their own cultures and home countries. They are also a minority within a minority, and this makes for a difficult position many find themselves in. Hopefully, reading this unit will make others aware of the contributions that Africans have made to the cultures of Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and begin to understand these women who have feet in both Spain and Africa.

Pat Mitchell-Keita-Doe

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