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Discover the Afro Latino Side of Black History Month

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare — February 25, 2021 — 3 min read
The Black Hispanic community, also referred to as Afro Latinos, has a central role in history. Every year, this community celebrates its milestones, challenges and contributions. In North Carolina, several virtual events will be open to the public during February. (Find the details below)

About the Afro Latino Community

The presence of Spanish-speaking Africans in North America goes back to the mid-16th century. Unfortunately, there is very little mention of Afro Latinos in books or other historical records. Most of what we know today about this community has been collected through research and word of mouth.

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg is a very well-known and respected researcher from Puerto Rico. He also identifies as Afro Latino. Schomburg (1874-1938) dedicated his research to learn more about the Afro Latinos' history. The New York Public Library has a building named after him: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Schomburg was born in Puerto Rico in 1874 to a Black mother and a father of German descent. From a young age, Schomburg often wondered about the lack of African history taught in his classrooms. This led him to become one of the world’s biggest collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, and black artwork. This included findings in different languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and others.

Contributions of the Afro Latinos

History shows that Afro-Latinos were present in the United States before its foundation. Black Latinos were here even before the English settlers.

Afro-Latinos have faced big challenges, some shared with the whole Black community throughout history. Some of these challenges include poor access to social and economic resources. However, since its origins, Afro Latinos have contributed to farming, mining, and other key activities. Learn more about the rich history and contributions of Afro Latinos.

The Beauty and Colors of the Afro Latino Heritage

Afro-Latino culture continues to be a strong influence today. As a bicultural group with both African and Hispanic roots, their style is very distinctive. These contributions are enjoyed by millions through music rhythms like salsa and mambo. Poetry and literature also showcase the beauty and colorful power of the Afro Latino tradition. Here are some famous Afro Latinos that have marked history in music, film, sports and military service:

Afro Latinos Virtual Event on February 26

Join a celebration of the Afro Latino heritage during Black History Month. This event will be hosted by the Charlotte Committee of Patriotic Holidays. Here are the details:
  • Friday, February 26 - 7 p.m.
  • Online Live Event. Join here.
For mental health and wellbeing community resources available in Spanish, visit our website.

Image sources: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, Celia Cruz, Rosie Perez, Mariano Rivera, Esteban Hotesse.
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