Watch Black in Latin America

Black in Latin America is a four part documentary that explores the history and cultural influences of Africans in Latin American countries. It is narrated by Editor-in-chief Henry Louis Gates Jr. and is featured on PBS channels. Through years of research as a professor at Harvard University, Henry Gates Jr. discovered that of the 11 million Africans that were taken into slavery, less than 5 percent were taken to America.

In fact, Latin America and the Caribbean have one of the highest populations of Africans with up to 70 percent in some of the regions. History has proven that these countries not only had a high concentration of slaves but slavery lasted much longer in these countries that what it did in the United States. This documentary takes a close look at how the African culture influenced these countries and why these contributions have gone unnoticed.

Black in Latin America focuses on the countries of Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Peru. On the island of Haiti and Dominican Republic inter-racial marriage is commonplace and has been for centuries. Henry Gates Jr. investigates why there is still racial classification and segregation between these two countries. Yet in Brazil, they celebrate the African culture and look back at the legacy of being the largest slave trader in the world.

Cuba reaped the profits of slavery centuries ago with the sugar industry and this molded the religious beliefs, music and even the politics of Cuba. Henry Gates Jr. delves into how racism has changed in Cuba since the communist revolution with Fidel Castro in 1959. Peru and Mexico were actually the first countries to receive slaves as far back as the 16th century. Black in Latin America researches why the history of Africans in these countries is virtually unheard and is treated as irrelevant in their history books.

Tuesday 8:00 PM et/pt on PBS
1 Season, 4 Episodes
April 19, 2011
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Black in Latin America Full Episode Guide

  • In Mexico and Peru, Professor Gates explores the almost unknown history of the significant numbers of black people -- the two countries together received far more slaves than did the United States -- brought to these countries as early as the 16th and 17th centuries, and the worlds of culture that their descendants have created in Vera Cruz on the Gulf of Mexico, the Costa Chica region on the Pacific and in and around Lima, Peru.

  • In Brazil, Professor Gates goes behind the fa├žade of Carnival to discover how this "rainbow nation" is waking up to its legacy as the world's largest slave economy.

  • In Cuba, Professor Gates finds out how the culture, religion, politics and music of this island are inextricably linked to the huge amount of slave labor imported to produce its enormously profitable 19th century sugar industry, and how race and racism have fared since Fidel Castro's Communist revolution in 1959.

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