DIGITAL/BOOKS: The Puerto Rico Syllabus #PRSyllabus

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Support Palabras for PR #PuertoRico

Jessica Marie Johnson writes:

I am helping to host an online fundraiser via YouCaring for Festival de la Palabra, located in Loíza, Puerto Rico. Please help us reach our $5,000 goal:


The mission of Festival de la Palabra is to internationalize Puerto Rican literature through the promotion of reading and creative writing in Puerto Rico and the creation of meeting spaces between writers and readers at school, national and international levels. Since Hurricane Maria, organizers and volunteers from Festival de la Palabra (FDLP) have been engaged in relief activities supporting some of the most isolated communities and youth through the arts. FDLP’s projects are based in Loíza, Puerto Rico, a historically Afrxdescendiente area of the island.

In case you missed that part — These funds are going to support Black Diasporic Puerto Ricans. Yes, of course, this is the part of the island that is receiving the least amount of attention, the least amount of aid, and has the greatest need.

Festival de la Palabra Founder, Mayra Santos-Febres

Continue reading “Support Palabras for PR #PuertoRico”

ARTICLE: Stark on African Slave Trade to Puerto Rico

David M. Stark, “A New Look at the African Slave Trade in Puerto Rico Through the Use of Parish Registers: 1660–1815.” Slavery & Abolition 30, no. 4 (December 1, 2009): 491–520. doi:10.1080/01440390903245083.


“Our knowledge of the volume of slave traffic as well as the geographic origin and ethnicity of slaves introduced into peripheral areas of the Americas, such as the former Spanish colony of Puerto Rico, is limited. Information contained in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century parish baptismal, marriage, and death registers enables us to locate and identify Africans in a number of island communities, including San Juan. Drawing upon data culled from parish registers this study seeks to broaden our understanding of the slave trade to Puerto Rico in the years 1672 to 1810. Few slaves were brought in either from Africa or from elsewhere in the Americas to Puerto Rico, and the supply of these was erratic and limited. Although they were small in number, there was considerable diversity in the geographic origins and ethnicity of African arrivals, with individuals from West and West Central Africa predominating. For the most part, these shared a relatively homogenous culture and a greater similarity insofar as the language(s) they spoke. Such commonalities facilitated integration and promoted social cohesion among the newly arrived Africans as well as those already present in the host population. It also facilitated their integration into what was emerging as a unified Afro-Puerto Rican slave community.”

Read the essay via Taylor & Francis Online ($$)

BOOK: Dorsey on Slave Traffic in Puerto Rico, West Africa, Caribbean

Joseph C. Dorsey, Slave Traffic in the Age of Abolition: Puerto Rico, West Africa, and the Non-Hispanic Caribbean, 1815-1859. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003.

via University Press of Florida:

“Drawing on archival sources from six countries, Joseph Dorsey examines the role of Puerto Rico in slave acquisitions after the traffic in slaves was outlawed. He delineates the differences between Puerto Rican and non-Puerto Rican traffic, from procurement in West Africa to influx into the Caribbean, and he scrutinizes the tactics–including inter-Caribbean traffic and conflation of African and Creole identities–by which Puerto Rican interest groups avoided abolitionist scrutiny. He also identifies the extent to which Spain supported these operations.

Dorsey reconstructs the slave trade in Puerto Rico, devoting special attention to the maritime logistics of slave acquisitions–in particular the West African corridors and the nuances of inter-Caribbean assistance. He examines the evidence for the true origins of these slave populations and considers forces beyond European and American politics that influenced the flow of slaves. He explains the complex conditions of the Upper Guinea coast and illustrates the impact of social, political, and economic forces endemic to West African affairs on the Puerto Rican slave market.

Dorsey’s meticulous pursuit of evidence unearths the routes and institutions that brought thousands of slaves from West Africa into the eastern Caribbean, turning them into “creoles” in official records. In a radical departure from present Puerto Rican historiography, he demonstrates that Puerto Rico was an active participant in the illegal slave traffic and exerted a great deal of control over numerous components of the acquisition process, without exclusive dependence on the larger slave-trading polities such as Cuba and Brazil.”

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