afro-latinx experience spotlighted at national museum of african american history & culture

November 1, 2017
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Often forgotten in the conversations about African-American history and heritage, Afro-Latinx experience is the focus of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Latino Studies department. Curated by Ariana Curtis, her work at the museum “explore[s] what Latino history and culture look like through the African American lens.” Setting roots in the African diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean, Curtis hopes to raise awareness of Latinidad, or “the interconnectedness of people who identify as Latino or are of Latin American or Caribbean heritage” and the similarities and differences it shares with the African Americans experience.

“Finally,” Curtis told Smithsonian Insider. “Another area of focus for me as curator of Latino studies is to explore the African Americanness in Latin America and the Caribbean. We usually think of the African American experience exclusively within the U.S., but it’s important to also study and document the mobility and migration of African American people, culture, and ideals outside the country.”

Although still in the growth process, Curtis says there are already many Latino-related objects and documents on view at the museum now, including the first object the museum acquired in 2005, a carved Ecuadorian boat seat donated by Ecuadorian scholar Juan Garcia Salazar whose grandmother would sit in the seat while re-telling him old folklore. Engraved on the seat, a representation of the Anansi spider, a popular diety in African folklore. Other items on display include select panels from murals erected at Resurrection City 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington and a dress worn by Celia Cruz, located in the museum’s extensive music collection.

Learn more about the mind-blowing collection at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and when to plan your trip, here.



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