PBS recently aired Cuba: The Next Revolution, the second episode of a four-part series titled Black in Latin America. The latest production effort of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this series explores the influence of African descent on Latin America, looking specifically at the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. Enriching the episodes with interviews with scholars, overlooked or underrepresented historical moments, and recent research on the region, Prof. Gates has created a series which “celebrates the massive influence of millions of people of African descent on the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, and considers why and how their contribution is often forgotten or ignored” (PBS website).
Last summer, Professor Gates interviewed Ada Ferrer about ideas of race in Cuba during the mid to late 19th century. This interview has been included in the Cuba: The Next Revolution episode (starts at minute 7:00), and helps describe sentiments toward racism and nationalism in Cuba at the time of the War of Independence. Ada Ferrer is Associate Professor of History at NYU and Director of CLACS, and has written extensively on Cuba. The French translation of her highly acclaimed book Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898 is forthcoming this year.
Among the online resources which accompany the series are curricular materials developed by Karen Michels through the Fall 2010 CLACS Teacher Residency Program. Part of CLACS’ K-12 Outreach initiatives, the Teacher Residency Program offers NYC teachers the chance to work with NYU professors and access NYU library resources as they investigate a Latin America or Caribbean-related topic of interest to them. A teacher at the Beacon School in New York City, Karen had proposed to study Race and Government Policy in Revolutionary Cuba while participating in the program. Prof. Ferrer served as Karen’s principal advisor, offering her intellectual guidance and support throughout Karen’s time on the NYU campus. While Karen’s lesson ideas can be found on the CLACS website along with other K-12 curricular materials, they have also been included on the PBS website as educational resources which complement the Race in Latin America series.
Posted by Christine Mladic – Program Administrator at CLACS at NYU