Tuesdays, April 19-May 10, 2011, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET
In countries from Brazil to Cuba to Peru and Mexico, the question of race is being discussed and debated, as questions of racial identity are brought to the forefront of national debates, often for the first time.
Is it possible that the more than 230 million Latin Americans whose roots reach back to Africa might soon follow the example set by the USA, voting one of their "own" people into power? Is there really pan Afro-American agenda that connects people across Portuguese, Spanish and French speaking countries? Is there really an African way of life in the Americas?
Episode One: Haiti & the Dominican Republic:
An Island Divided In Haiti, Professor Gates tells the story of the birth of the first-ever black republic and finds out how the slaves’ hard-fought liberation over Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire became a double-edged sword. In the Dominican Republic, Professor Gates explores how race has been socially constructed in a society whose people reflect centuries of inter-marriage and how the country’s troubled history with Haiti informs notions about racial classification.
Episode Two: Cuba: The Next Revolution
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.
Episode Three: Brazil: A Racial Paradise?
In Brazil, Professor Gates delves behind the façade of Carnival to discover how this ‘rainbow nation’ is waking up to its legacy as the world’s largest slave economy.
Episode Four: Mexico & Peru: A Hidden Race
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 State —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.
The companion book, Black in Latin America, written by Professor Gates, will be published in 2011 by NYU Press.