Archive for Puerto Rico

Interview | Greg Carroll, CEO of American Jazz Museum –

Posted in CULTURE, Latin America, Mother Africa, NEWS, Spotlight with tags , , , on June 28, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

“Greg Carroll is CEO of the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City. In collaboration with the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City and the Mattie Rhodes Center, the museum is holding an exhibition of large-scale photographs and artifacts that reveals cultural connections between Africa and Latin America. “Atlantic Diaspora: The Musical and Social Influences of Africans in Mexico and the United States” runs through Sept. 30. Admission is free. This conversation took place at the grand opening of the exhibit.”- Excerpt from

In the interview, Greg Carroll said,

“. . . there are Africans all over the world. The descendants from slavery, coming from West Africa, did not only go to North America. The diaspora stopped everywhere the boats stopped: in Haiti, in Puerto Rico, in Mexico.”

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Pan-Africanism; The United States of Africa

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Europe, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America with tags , , , , , , , on June 10, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Pan Africanism has been defined as many things such as a sociopolitical world view, a philosophy, and a movement. Pan Africanism seeks global African Unity for people of African heritage. The term Pan-Africanism was developed by Sylvester Williams of the United States. In the beginning it formed as solidarity amongst those where experiencing extreme racism and prejudice. It was a form of nationalism or a statement to reinforce pride. As a movement, campaigns have been to go “Back to Africa” and to economically and politically develop Africa.

The concept of Pan-Africanism was formed by W. E. B. Du Bois of the United States (and citizen of Liberia), known as the Father of Pan-Africanism, Marcus Garvey of Jamaica, and Kwame Nkrumah, of Ghana. Other early key leaders were Jomo Kenyatta, Robert Sobukwe, and Patrice Lumumba.

In 1919, the first Pan-African Congress was formed by W. E. B. Du Bois. Fifteen countries were represented by 57 delegates. Its main goal was to represent native Africans who did not rule their homeland. Its ultimate goal was to see all of Africa having home rule.

Boxing Great – “Iron Boy Calderon”

Posted in CULTURE, Latin America, NEWS with tags on June 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

One of the world’s best boxer, Ivan “Iron Boy” Calderon, WBO  world champion, takes time out for a photo shoot on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. Calderon, a two time world champion, will take on Jesus “Azul” Iribe of Mexico in the main event of “Top Rank Live” this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. The  fight will be televised  en Español and on Pay-per-view in Puerto Rico. Calderon of Puerto Rico arrived in New York on Friday.

Calderon walked the streets of Manhattan with his team, Jose “Che Che” Sanchez and Angel Cotto. He returned to his routine of running in the morning and training in the evening on Monday.

African Diaspora – Exodus; Movement of the People

Posted in Awareness, Europe, HISTORY, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Throughout history African people have been forced to leave their homes to go to foreign lands. As a result of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, imperial exploitation, and civil war, Africans have been shipped or driven into the Americas, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe and other African countries.

Due to Diaspora, more people of African descent live in Brazil, South America, than in any country on the African continent (with the exception of Nigeria). Forced migration of people of African descent has made up an estimated 14% of the world’s population.

Country – African Descent Population

Brazil – 85,783,143


United States – 38,499,304


Colombia – 9,452,872


Haiti – 8,701,439


Dominican Republic – 7,985,991


Italy –3,090,000


France – 3,000,000


Jamaica – 2,731,419


Venezuela – 2,641, 481



United Kingdom – 2,080,000


Cuba – 1,126,894


Peru – 875,427


Canada – 783,795


Ecuador – 680,000


Trinidad and Tobago – 610,000


Nicaragua – 520,786


Plena – The Music of Puerto Rico

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Latin America with tags , , on May 29, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Plena is Puerto Rican folk music, the blues it tells of the pain and ironies in people’s lives and communities. It is rooted in African music and dance. It is compared to calypso music of Trinidad, porro of Colombia, and blues of United States.

It became popular in the 20th century with rural workers seeking musical expression. It swiftly became popular as an urban cultural expression.

Plena lyrics detail the news and political events in society as well as local gossip and scandal. Like rap, plena is as much about the lyrics as the rhythm. It incorporates call and response as in bomba and salsa. Plena is played in a fast pace as in reggae.

Slavery of Puerto Rico

Posted in HISTORY, Latin America with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Unlike the slave trade in other parts of the world, Puerto Rico did not take part in the importation of captured Africans for forced labor until the eighteenth century. Other parts of the world began as early as the fourteenth century.  At the time the Puerto Rican economy suffered due to restrictions set during the colonization by Spain.

Puerto Rico became a colony of Spain in 1508. Under the Spanish rule they were prohibited from trading with other nations. In 1513, Portuguese traders brought enslaved Africans to the island. The society was poor and in 1530 Spain attempted to export slaves to subsidize the agricultural economy but could not afford the price to develop a sizeable slave population. In the seventeenth century San Juan became a military post. This change coupled with reoccurring revolts by the Africans, caused the effort to support the economy through agriculture to be abandoned.

In 1765, Puerto Rico was made into the main distribution port for African slaves being brought into the Caribbean Islands. Puerto Rico saw a second chance to develop a slave population to build an agricultural economy.

In 1773, the distribution port was moved to Havana, Cuba.  Puerto Rico had already begun to see increased production in coffee, tobacco, and sugar. Spain allowed trade and opened the slave labor dependency in which Puerto Rico used to develop a successful coffee, sugar industry during the early nineteenth century.

In 1808, Great Britain began an international movement to end the slave trade. Puerto Rico continued slave labor for 150 years before abolishing slavery on March 22, 1873. Today in Puerto Rico, March 22nd is “Abolition Day”. Puerto Rican culture is strongly influenced by African descendants. Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico has many words from the Bozal language that was spoken by the Africans. Bozal is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, and a language spoken in the Congo.