This interdisciplinary course paid special attention to the way Caribbean historical fiction and poetry have examined Black rebellion in the region during colonial times (Césaire) until the 19th century. Some of the topics we addressed were the European capture of Africans (Dadzie), domestic resistance in plantations (Arroyo Pizarro; Carnegie; Dadzie) the Haitian Revolution (Trouillot), escapes, freedom practices, and emancipation (Manzao; Engle; Pettway). We supplemented this literary analysis with historical essays, documentaries, and videos that looked at the political, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions of Latin America and the Caribbean during the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Recommended Article On the Protests Against Austerity, Social and Racial Inequality in Colombia:

‘They can’t take it anymore’: pandemic and poverty brew violent storm in Colombia

“No Más Discriminación” – Kombilesa Mí

(No más discriminación
Negros y blancos en un sólo rincón
Somos los mismos aunque nos cambie el color
Somos los mismos, con el mismo corazón
Aunque a veces el mundo nos separe sin razón)

One more time I invite you
to our maroon town
where discrimination
we left her without direction
I don’t care about your color
nor your religion
the only thing that matters is that you think like me
because the other is different
you are not going to damage their environment
is enough
don’t you see that what you do is humiliate
The one in front of you, we are all men

My maroon town is to be admired
for all its songs full of emotions
that comes out of the heart, like an invasion
considering conservation
and tradition
Palenque is my biggest attraction
the main tools against racism are
language and education

(Black I am, black I will be
black I was born, black I will die) [x2]

I am black
because I consider myself a palenquera
black, let the whole earth listen to me
well I will always be and I will never forget my identity
much less the truth that surrounds us
a thousand times

I’m a black man
listen well and see
so I’ll say it even if you get diarrhea
listen well and see

Listen to my lyrics
I don’t come looking for violence
what I want is that black and white
look at each other with decency
and not be out there discriminating

I turn off the word racial discrimination
the whole race one world family
no one to make fun of another
because of the way they talk
or because of its color
all the world in one corner

(Hey, we are the same, we are the same, we are the same) [x2]

(No more discrimination
blacks and whites in one corner
we are the same even if we change our color
we are the same, with the same heart
although sometimes the world separates us for no reason)

This song comes in the form of protest
looking for a proposal
for discrimination
it is something that affects
this planet
like earthquakes
because there are guys who make fun of us
either because of the way we speak or because of our face
because of our skin color
or because of our way of being before others
all I want is for you to think clearly
and with reason, because you are white
you think you better than me?

Full stop, but with the permission of my friends
this song I will end
I come to say that we are being run over by racism
it shouldn’t be like that if the color of human blood is the same
mulattoes, mestizos, gringos, hands up
in this world, I do not want more discrimination

… Discrimination to hell with it [x4]

(Hey, we are the same, we are the same, we are the same) [x2]

Group Discussion

What was a major takeaway from our class?

What was difficult this semester and how did you overcome that obstacle?

Chat Discussion

Send some good vibes and words of encouragement to your classmates.

Asynchronous Assignment on “Present But Unseen (Pages 151-173)

Asynchronous Assignment (due on 5/11 before the class)

Matthew Pettway argues that Manzano’s use of dream sequences in his poetry represents the powers of spirit to transform the black subject. He considers these poems as visions of black familial love and as symbolic acts of emancipation.


Thinking of these arguments:

.Pick an excerpt from ONE of the poems written by Juan Francisco Manzano and highlighted by Pettway: “A Dream” (Pages 155-164), “Poems” (Pages 164-167), or “The Poet Vision Composed on a Sugar Plantation” (Pages 167-171).

.In the comment section down below describe Pettway’s interpretation of your selected poem.

.Insert your views: do you agree with Pettway’s points and interpretations? Do you disagree? What other observations about the excerpt written by Manzano do you want to bring into the discussion?

Present But Unseen- Matthew Pettway

Entry Question

What topics from the second half of the semester (the Haitian Revolution and Juan Francisco Manzano’s poetics of emancipation) would you like to see included in the final?

Present But Unseen

Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of South Alabama and scholar of Afro-Latin American and Caribbean literatures, Dr. Matthew Pettway argues in his book Cuban Literature in the Age of Black Insurrection that Afro-Latin Americans such as Juan Francisco Manzano took hold of the aesthetic and spiritual tools available to them (catholicism along with Yoruba and Bakongo spiritual perspectives) to conceive a poetics of emancipation.

In his chapter “Present but Unseen: African-Cuban Spirituality and Emancipation in the Literature of Juan Francisco Manzano” Pettway defends that Manzano’s deference for catholic requiems and rituals did not “constituted an indifference to African-inspired spirituality nor represented a disdain for African sources of religious power. Manzano negotiated the disparities between Catholic doctrine and African-inspired ideas about death, the afterlife, and the struggle for black freedom.”

Pettway conceives Manzano’s autobiography as transcultural colonial literature because of Manzano’s combination of a Catholic belief system with passages about spirit apparitions and the power of African divine spirits, with Catholic saint names.

Oral Presentation on the essay “Present but Unseen” (Pages 120-151)

Vargas, Ricardo

Downer, Ginelli Ivette

Sanchez, Johairy

Dr. Matthew Pettway’s Lecture: “Manzano at the Crossroads”