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  • Henry Smith

    Mexico abolished slavery in 1829. One of the bones of contention during the 1830’s Texas independence movement was that Texans wanted to be free to own slaves. I don’t know anything about what happened to Mexico’s slaves after they were emancipated, but I do know that the British in the West Indies quickly educated their slaves to bring them up to the level of the other citizenry, something that did not happen in the United States where there was another hundred years of segregation and even then full freedom was granted reluctantly.

  • Yettekov Wilson Jr

    Lot’s of good information coming out of the shadows finally. I am so glad to see all these beautiful people living their lives.

  • Kevin Credle

    It’s amazing that the information regarding the former slave population is not better connected between the regions. As slaves were distributed in North, Central and South America collectively, by the British, French, Spanish and Portugese, you would think that in today’s education environment, this would be a subject taught in all curriculums throughout the Western Hemisphere . It’s no surprise that many children today have no concept of it’s ever having existed as an institution. More shameful for some who are aware, is being under the impression that it only happened in the United States in general, and the East Coast Southern States in particular. This program should begin to help to broaden the awareness of how vast an area, over which this type of labor was utilized, just a little bit.

  • art fleming

    Great intro to the next level of our global consciousness as BLACK citizens of the world. THERE IS MUCH IGNORANCE IN THIS WORLD, THANK YOU DR. GATES FOR CONNECTING US, THERE IS MUCH WORK TO BE DONE!!!!

  • Frank

    Thank you Dr. Gates for broadening the scope of this inhumane treatment of the African people and forced slavery. I hope one day the ancestors and descendants that profited from the pain, and suffering of those subjected will pay in full for their deeds, meaning eternal suffering in Hades.
    Yes, I’m bitter, my paternal grandfather was shot, dragged, mutilated, lynched and burned for not walking in a muddied dirt road although sufficient wooden sidewalk was available for whites.

  • mari

    What about the rest of the countries in Latin America ? Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Hounduras, icaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, to name a few ? They should all been included .

  • Eduardo Añorve

    Los personajes de la foto número 38 no son músicos del Toro de Petate: el de la izquierda es Don Melquia, versero y contador de historias; el de la derecha es Foncho Rendón, quien falleció en enero pasado, y fue músico y corridista excelente. La foto fue hecha en San Nicolás, municipio de Cuajinicuilapa, Gro.

  • Mario Rios Pinot

    I’m so glad this is being done and so rich like the proverbial tapestry. I’m not sure about Mr. Gates, I hope he does not have a meltdown…maybe two hosts…why not one from Haiti or Dominican Republic or even a…dare I say it?…a white scholar???!!! Maybe its time to get away from the monopolies: white race and black race? Sort of working together, hhmmmm. Thank you.

  • Melissa

    I agree! Although – the history of Black people in Central America is often told incorrectly. Perhaps it’s better that we were left out.
    mari says:
    April 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm
    What about the rest of the countries in Latin America ? Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina, Hounduras, icaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, to name a few ? They should all been included

  • Ron Gay

    This rich history has been denied to many of afrocaribbean and latino students . the states need to free teachers at the k-12 levels to at least offer this info as part of world history or just as an interesting elective the forgotten history of the Americas . A title like that would definitely get students attention …

  • Victoria Molina

    Finally! I’ve been waiting for someone to do a documentary on the West African culture and its importance in Latin America. I cant wait for the episode on Cuba. Being an afro-cubana myself makes me proud to see more of my people on TV.

    Special thanks to Mr.Gates and PBS

  • Frank Gonzalez

    I agree with w/Mari on April 17. A great example would be the African influence in the roots of Tango fro Argentina, Read “Tango: The Art History of Love” by Robert Farris Thompson of Yale.

  • Robert Muñoz


    Over 90% of the black africans that came to the “new world” went to latin america to be slaves, this`s something the people of the US don`t know, they think the blacks in latin america are natives of the different countries.

  • Carlos Quesada

    As a Afro-Latino working on combating racial discrimination in Latin America, it is good to see that this documentary will raise awareness about the human rights conditions of Afro-Latinos and it is also a lesson for all of us (afrodescendants) on how much more we need to do in order to combat racial discrimination in the world. Felicidades, nuestros ancestros estan celebrando!

  • June Reed

    Three years ago I left this country and moved to San Jose, Costa Rica. The first thing I noticed was that there were very few black Costa Ricans. When I finally asked, “Where are are of the black people?” I was informed that the majority lived in Limon. I immediately got on a bus and made my way there. For the remainder of my time there I spent every weekend in Limon. Every three months I had to leave the country for 72 hrs. (visa run). This time was spent in Bocas De Torro, Panama. Three quarters of the population of the city is black. When I left Costa Rica a year later I traveled for two years to the following cities, all of which have a VERY LARGE black population or a totally black population.

    Nicaragua: Bluefields and Puerto Cabezas
    Honduras: Oma, Trujillo, La Ceiba, Tela and San Pedro Sula
    Guatamala: Puerto Barrios and Livingston
    Panama: Panama City and Colon (Colon in 95% black)
    Colombia: Cartagena, Armenia, Cali and Quibdo (Quibdo is 97% black, 2% indigenous people and 1% white)

    We are everywhere and it saddens me that most African Americans will never visit these places because they are not tourist destinations.

  • Yolanda H.

    Thank you for such an informative piece. It is refreshing to see the histories of Afro Latinos told by Afro Latinos. The current history books are loaded with European points of views. We have found our voices and we must speak so that others may hear and know that we are here. We’ve been here for some time and will continue to be here. As a woman of color from Latin America, I do not see myself in the magazines geared for Latinas. And I am still here. We must tell our stories as they happened, not a sanitized version. Only then will we be able to move forward in our thought processes, and aspirations. Soy prieta, mulata, negra, latina y negra y tan orgullosa de serlo.

  • devia

    Thank you Mr Gates for the info. I pray that this history is talk about in schools around the world.

  • Joyce Clerge

    I really enjoyed watching the documentary highlighting the rich culture, beauty, history, and traditions of Haiti. We are a resilient people indeed, and Haiti will overcome in time. We need more of our Haitian diaspora to return to Haiti, and suport reconstruction efforts in all sectors. La perle des antilles, Ayiti cherie:) Knowledge is power!

  • manuel elizondo

    I enjoyed your show.. I wish that you had done a sement on puerto rico.. where we still practice african culture

  • Sarah Garrido

    Finally!!! Im so glad this was done. As an Afro Latina its difficult to leave in a society (US) in most dont even seem to know that my ethnicity exist. I am here and I’m real!!!!! Thank You Prof. Gates!!!!!!!
    – A happy Afro Dominicana

  • Jill

    Mr. Gates,

    I am from the Dominican Republic and I’m PROUD to be Black. I have never been confused about my roots. So let’s NOT put All Dominicans on the same basket stating that “Dominicans are in denial” about their African roots.

  • Bahati Ansari

    Finally the truth shall make us free, it hope.

  • El Negro Mota

    What a delightful series…It was about time for a serious conversation about the Black identity in Latin America, its importance and relevance not just to Afro-Latinos but also to Afro-Americans has long been neglected. As a Dominican of obvious African heritage and very proud of it I was consider to be out of my mind when at an early age in the DR we identify with African Music, Religion and to some extend the language. Growing up in the post Trujillo era embracing this rich heritage was subject of shame and dangerous social disconnect. to this day we still face this level of ignorance.

  • Virginia Williams

    This is a brilliant idea for a series as it gathers together information from various sources to present a never before compiled history of African slavery in the ENTIRE New World. There is so much that we do not yet know about this – for example, In reading a book on the history of capitalism recently, I was astonished to learn that Brazil, when a Portuguese colony, imported the bulk of all African slaves ever brought across the Atlantic to work the sugar plantations there, in numbers far reater than the Caribbean islands and the United States combined. Also, I hope Prof. Gates will continue to explore throughout the influence of African religion, music and customs on New World culture, this is fascinating.
    That book on capitalism is “The Relentless Revolution” by Prof. Joyce Appleby and is an excellent introduction to the history of the market economy in which we live. She has a lot on the origins and growth of the slave trade and the importance of sugar production, it’s all connected, of course.

  • Jim

    I was a Peace Corps volunteer and lived in Dajabon on the Haitian border for 2 years. I was a frequent visitor to the bi-weekly marketplace, and I took trips across the border into Haiti from time to time. I was constantly amazed at the stark contrasts: Paved roads in the DR, Dirt roads in Haiti; Electricity (albeit with black-outs) in the DR, Lack of electricity to many “houses” in Haiti; Running water provided to each house in the DR, wells for bucket retrieval in Haiti… the list goes on and on. And of course, the total negation of their African descent in the DR, while Haiti clinged closely to its roots. Interesting that the marines brought baseball to the DR, while in Haiti, which was also occupied by our military, such connections necver materialized.

    I ascribed Haiti’s consistent poverty to their “pariah” status as being the first to reject the colonial system. No passports, no visas, no decent trade arrangements, led to a crushing impoverishment. The DR, on the other hand, embraced their former colonial connections, and were able to say that they beat back the pariah Haitian state. They were independent, but with much better land for agriculture and connections to Multi-national interests (United Fruit, Gulf + Western)… Still, the DR is poor, owing to their lack of freedom to travel, but with a significant population in the U.S., the most popular places in many towns in the Western Union office.

    Two fascinating and complex countries !

  • Faith

    Jill, I think you are rare.

  • Deborah Carpenter

    I now understand why Haiti has suffered so much for so long.

  • Jackie Henderson

    I hope their are some young educators watching who have the desire to share this history with their students.
    In my World History classes in the ’80’s and ’90’s, I was able to share with my students a documentary series “EYES ON THE PRIZE”, which covered the civil rights movement in America. They were enlightened!
    Thanks Dr. Gates

  • Luz V.

    This was fascinating to watch! I look forward to watching the Black in Latin America, in Mexico.

  • gralan

    Nice Program. This should have been learned from parents,family,church and community. This where the true failure.

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