Black in Latin America – Most Americans can’t conceive of black and Latino being the same thing. Most African-Americans can’t conceive of slavery existing anywhere else other than the United States. In both cases, were all wrong. The slave trade worldwide was a massive undertaking. When most Americans think of slavery, we think of the obvious and long-lasting effects of slavery in the United States and relationships between the races. The truth is that the majority of slaves during the transatlantic slave trade ended up south of America’s borders, the Caribbean and all throughout South America.
Between 1502 in 1866 12.5 million African slaves were brought to the Americas. Of that number, only 450,000 were brought to the United States. The rest were scattered throughout the Caribbean and other parts of Latin America and the diaspora that has become the legacy of that tragic commerce. The remaining slaves were brought to other parts of Latin America;4.8 million were brought to Brazil alone. In fact, Brazil is home to the largest black population in the entire world, second only to the African continent. Today 120 million people of African descent live in Latin America.
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, the Harvard professor who became famous for his confrontation with a local policeman when trying to break into his own home has conducted extensive research on being black in Latin America. Dr. Gates travels have taken him to Brazil, Peru, Cuba and the Dominican Republic; conducting his research and writing his book, Black in Latin America.