Marcha do Empoderamento Crespo (“March of Crespo Empowerment”), in Salvador (Brazil),  March 13th 2016. Photos by Edgar Azevedo (@oedgaraz)

Obs: “crespo” is a word in BR Portuguese for the afro-curly texture.

Recommended reads for LGBTQ+ history buffs, and those who wish they were

Originally posted by lgbtqarchives

Discovering LGBTQ History (@lgbtqarchives)

From the desk of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration comes STONEWALL@NARA. @lgbtqarchives​ is a repository for documents reflecting the history of American LGBTQ+ people from 1778 to now. Some of it is inspiring, much of it is harrowing, all of it tells a story.

Originally posted by queersinhistory

Queer Portraits in History (@queersinhistory​)

Illustrator Michele Rosenthal (@dialmformichele​) is using her artistic talent to honor prominent figures in the LGBTQ+ community. That little circle above showcases the Mother of Blues, Ma Rainey. She recorded over 100 albums in a mere five years. In one song, Prove it On Me, she made it clear she wasn’t ashamed of who she was: “Went out last night with a crowd of my friends / They must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no men.” Considering it was recorded in 1928, it was a particularly bold statement. 

Originally posted by gaywrites

Gay Writes (@gaywrites​)

Staying informed in this political climate is becoming increasingly important. Let this Tumblr be a gentle guide through those rough waters. It’s a living compendium of U.S.-centric LGBTQ+ news, media, and culture. Keep yourself abreast of the latest news without ever leaving your dashboard.

Originally posted by thegranvarones

The Gran Varones (@thegranvarones​)

This legacy project uses storytelling to signal boost the voices of a community that needs it: Latino and Afro-Latino gay, queer, and trans men. It sheds light on individuals whose sexuality and ethnicity often means they are facing a disproportionate amount of scrutiny. These stories are uplifting, they’re normalizing, and they’re so needed.

365 Days of Lesbians (@365daysoflesbians​)

Come next Leap Year, they’ll have to temporarily change their name to 366 Days of Lesbians. For now, enjoy this wonderful blog that presents you with a photo and biographical write-up of one self-identifying lesbian (or activist group, as pictured above) every dang day of the year.


There are more descendants of Africans who speak Spanish or Portuguese than English.

Brazil has the largest population of Blacks in the world second ONLY to Nigeria!

The Caribbean was often a stop in the transatlantic slave trade to “break” the African before being sold to the Americas.

Haiti was the first BLACK independent nation in the Western Hemisphere , defeating Napoleon and others from France, with the power of Voudon (Voodoo). As a result, Haiti ,was punished by all of Europe through tariffs, taxes and other ways!


The founding members of The Young Lords party grew up in the NYC projects as the children of working class, Puerto Rican migrants. They were known for their proactive social protest and community activities like burning garbage piles and taking over a church to run a free breakfast program.

The Young Lords began as a Puerto Rican turf gang in the Lincoln Park, Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park in the fall of 1960 and as a civil and human rights movement on Grito de Lares, September 23, 1968. During Mayor Daley’s tenure, Puerto Ricans in Lincoln Park and several Mexican communities were completely evicted from areas near the Loop, lakefront, Old Town, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, in order to increase property tax revenues. When they realized that urban renewal was evicting their families from their barrios and witnessed police abuses, some Puerto Ricans became involved in the June 1966 Division Street Riots in Wicker Park and Humboldt Park. They were officially reorganized from the gang into a civil and human rights movement by Jose Cha Cha Jimenez, who was the last president of the former gang and became the founder of the new Young Lords Movement

Latinos of all shades and hair texture came together, not phased by the petty discrimination rife within their community. The Young Lords grew into a national movement through the leadership of activists like Angela Lind Adorno who met with Vietnamese women, Omar López, David Rivera, Field Marshall, Dr. Tony Baez a leader in Bi-lingual, Bi-Cultural Education and Richie Pérez who established the Puerto Rican Student Union (PRSU) in a number of college campuses and high schools.

The Young Lords’ supported independence for Puerto Rico, all Latino nations and oppressed nations of the world and also neighborhood empowerment. This is clear by the original symbol with a map of Puerto Rico and a brown fist holding up a rifle and the purple lettering reading, “Tengo Puerto Rico en mi Corazon” (“I have Puerto Rico in my heart”). They saw themselves as a people’s struggle, a vanguard connected with the masses and it is why they began in Chicago fighting against the displacement of Puerto Ricans from Lincoln Park. While the national symbol and YLO (Young Lords Organization) appeared on buttons, the New York chapter began the local “Garbage Offensive”, which was an organizing vehicle and city-service concern. The Young Lords also addressed the local issues of police injustice, health care, tenants’ rights, free breakfast for children, free day care, and more accurate Latino education. The urban renewal campaign was framed by the Chicago office as the modern day land question, since Emiliano Zapata, who said, “all revolutions are based on land”

Young Lords Party

13-Point Program and Platform:

1. We want self-determination for Puerto Ricans–Liberation of the Island and inside the United States.

For 500 years, first spain and then united states have colonized our country. Billions of dollars in profits leave our country for the united states every year. In every way we are slaves of the gringo. We want liberation and the Power in the hands of the People, not Puerto Rican exploiters.

Que Viva Puerto Rico Libre!

2. We want self-determination for all Latinos.

Our Latin Brothers and Sisters, inside and outside the united states, are oppressed by amerikkkan business. The Chicano people built the Southwest, and we support their right to control their lives and their land. The people of Santo Domingo continue to fight against gringo domination and its puppet generals. The armed liberation struggles in Latin America are part of the war of Latinos against imperialism.

Que Viva La Raza!

3. We want liberation of all third world people.

Just as Latins first slaved under spain and the yanquis, Black people, Indians, and Asians slaved to build the wealth of this country. For 400 years they have fought for freedom and dignity against racist Babylon (decadent empire). Third World people have led the fight for freedom. All the colored and oppressed peoples of the world are one nation under oppression.

No Puerto Rican Is Free Until All People Are Free!

4. We are revolutionary nationalists and oppose racism.

The Latin, Black, Indian and Asian people inside the u.s. are colonies fighting for liberation. We know that washington, wall street and city hall will try to make our nationalism into racism; but Puerto Ricans are of all colors and we resist racism. Millions of poor white people are rising up to demand freedom and we support them. These are the ones in the u.s. that are stepped on by the rules and the government. We each organize our people, but our fights are against the same oppression and we will defeat it together.

Power To All Oppressed People!

5. We want community control of our institutions and land.

We want control of our communities by our people and programs to guarantee that all institutions serve the needs of our people. People’s control of police, health services, churches, schools, housing, transportation and welfare are needed. We want an end to attacks on our land by urban removal, highway destruction, universities and corporations.

Land Belongs To All The People!

6. We want a true education of our Creole culture and Spanish language.

We must learn our history of fighting against cultural, as well as economic genocide by the yanqui. Revolutionary culture, culture of our people, is the only true teaching.

7. We oppose capitalists and alliances with traitors.

Puerto Rican rulers, or puppets of the oppressor, do not help our people. They are paid by the system to lead our people down blind alleys, just like the thousands of poverty pimps who keep our communities peaceful for business, or the street workers who keep gangs divided and blowing each other away. We want a society where the people socialistically control their labor.


8. We oppose the Amerikkkan military.

We demand immediate withdrawal of u.s. military forces and bases from Puerto Rico, Vietnam and all oppressed communities inside and outside the u.s. No Puerto Rican should serve in the u.s. army against his Brothers and Sisters, for the only true army of oppressed people is the people’s army to fight all rulers.

U.S. Out Of Vietnam, Free Puerto Rico!

9. We want freedom for all political prisoners.

We want all Puerto Ricans freed because they have been tried by the racist courts of the colonizers, and not by their own people and peers. We want all freedom fighters released from jail.

Free All Political Prisoners!

10. We want equality for women. Machismo must be revolutionary… not oppressive.

Under capitalism, our women have been oppressed by both the society and our own men. The doctrine of machismo has been used by our men to take out their frustrations against their wives, sisters, mothers, and children. Our men must support their women in their fight for economic and social equality, and must recognize that our women are equals in every way within the revolutionary ranks.

Forward, Sisters, In The Struggle!

11. We fight anti-communism with international unity.

Anyone who resists injustice is called a communist by “the man” and condemned. Our people are brainwashed by television, radio, newspapers, schools, and books to oppose people in other countries fighting for their freedom. No longer will our people believe attacks and slanders, because they have learned who the real enemy is and who their real friends are. We will defend our Brothers and Sisters around the world who fight for justice against the rich rulers of this country.

Viva Che!

12. We believe armed self-defense and armed struggle are the only means to liberation.

We are opposed to violence–the violence of hungry children, illiterate adults, diseased old people, and the violence of poverty and profit. We have asked, petitioned, gone to courts, demonstrated peacefully, and voted for politicians full of empty promises. But we still ain’t free. The time has come to defend the lives of our people against repression and for revolutionary war against the businessman, politician, and police. When a government oppresses our people, we have the right to abolish it and create a new one.

Boricua Is Awake! All Pigs Beware!

13. We want a socialist society.

We want liberation, clothing, free food, education, health care, transportation, utilities, and employment for all. We want a society where the needs of our people come first, and where we give solidarity and aid to the peoples of the world, not oppression and racism.

Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

The Young Lords were a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, which had long harassed Puerto Rican independence groups. The New York-Chicago schism mirrored the “Divide and Conquer” divisions within other New Left groups like the Black Panther Party, Students for a Democratic Society, Brown Berets and many other new left movements. All of these organizations were repressed. At first, the splits were believed to be the result of growing pains, as this movement was very young and spread quickly. But it is now documented that it was primarily due to police infiltration by informants and provocateurs, and planned and shaped by the ongoing undercover work of the FBI’s COINTELPRO

The leaders were framed, beaten, given high bonds, imprisoned, harassed, and discredited. The entire Chicago leadership was forced underground in order to reorganize itself. Tactics against the movements included negative rumor campaigns, pitting groups against each other and the creation of factionalism, distrust and personality conflicts. In Chicago, COINTELPRO created an official anti-Rainbow Coalition component. Members were interviewed in public view in front of the church. The Red Squad was also parked 24 hours a day in front of the national headquarters. Other harassment included inciting quarrels between spouses and between members and allies. The founder and chairman, Jose Cha Cha Jimenez not only was indicted 18 times in a six-week period for felony charges such as assault and battery on police to mob action; he was kept in the county jail, or in court rooms fighting the charges, and received constant death threats. 

While the Young Lords advocated armed strategies similar to those advocated by the Black Panthers, it was as a right of self-defense and rarely arose. It did after the shooting of Manuel Ramos and the implications of police foul play in the circumstances surrounding the beating death of José (Pancho) Lind, the supposed suicide of Julio Roldán in the custody of the NYPD and the fatal stabbings in Chicago of the United Methodist Church Rev. Bruce Johnson and his wife Eugenia, who pastored in Lincoln Park at the Young Lord’s first People’s Church in Chicago. 

The documentary Palante, Siempre Palante! The Young Lords, produced by Young Lord Iris Morales, aired on PBS in 1996. Palante, Siempre Palante! The Young Lords, documents the period from 1969 through the organization’s demise in 1976. The Young Lords represented another cycle of militancy, write Andres Torres and Jose Velasquez in The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices From the Diaspora, a collection of personal narratives from activists of the period. 

In 2015, The Young Lords was the focus of a new art exhibit organized by The Bronx Museum of the Arts called “¡Presente! The Young Lords in New York.” It is on view at three different cultural institutions in New York.

Today in history, March 22nd 1873, Puerto Rico officially, Abolished slavery. Although that date was the official date for the abolition of slavery, enslaved Africans and their descendants still suffered under the conditions of slavery for a minimum of three more years, while slave owners were given money, and land agreements in their favor to compensate for the incoming loss to their revenue. Even after that, previously enslaved Africans and African descendants worked under similarly harsh conditions under the same “employer” for low wages.

It’s now been 144 years later, and I would implore us, Puerto Ricans , to reflect on what the abolition meant, and how the effects of race-based social structure still lingers on in current day Puerto Rico, and the Puerto Rican diaspora. How are conditions like for Puerto Rican’s of African descent, what are conditions like for Puerto Rican’s who’s African heritage is worn on their skin? What can we do to continue fighting against anti-blackness, and ensure a more inclusive, and less discriminatory Puerto Rican culture?

this is my soap box.

Did you know that soap came from Africa?

Did you know that I came from Africa?

Not directly,


I am the product of a remake of a remake,

of a remake of a duplicated, imitation,

of a colonized, gentrified, white washed…

I am black.

I do not call myself African American.

I do not deserve to call myself African,

I can tell you that an ancestor of mine

probably came from the coast.

But there is always the possibility

they were sold

from somewhere else as a prisoner of war,

but I honestly will never know.

I have not right to call myself American,

Any native blood in me is too diluted.

Buried with the rest of the family secrets.

I am black.

My father was geechee and creole.

His mother Dutch-German, his father French.

If you want we can go down to El Dorado, Arkansas

to Massey street.

I will show you where the plantation

once stood.

My fathers last name was Massey,

this is where he once stood.

My mother is Dominican.

Taino, conquistador, slave - who knows.

But she is light skin and nothing like me

and she is my mother and everything like me.

So what box do I fill on a census?

There is no “check here” for the children of diaspora.

So I will stick with my soap box,

Its kinda like me.

All brown and tattered and passed down

and died for.

Without any discernible postmark

for country of origin.

Because really the popular tree and

the azúcar tree are distant cousins.

With branches still trying to regrow themselves

So this is my box, my soap box.

Did I ever tell you the one about soap and Africa?



The Pollera and Somberero Pintado: Symbols of Panamanian Culture

La Pollera

Refers to the traditional costume of Panama worn by women consisting of a skirt and a blouse. Its origins are that of Spanish clothing worn by peasant women in the seventeenth century. The most iconic pollera is that of the pollera de gala; its development began when upper-class Spanish women started settling in the Americas. Since their lavish clothing was unsuitable for the tropical climate, they would appropriate the dress of their [Spanish] servants. However to make them appear more luxurious they would decorate the garments with lavish embroidery and lace. This type of pollera was eventually adopted to the white criollo and mestizo population; and to this day is seen as a national symbol of Panama. Traditionally a woman owns two polleras in her life; one during childhood and the other when she becomes an adult. Typically polleras de gala are handmade of white linen and embroidered with colorful patterns such as flowers and fruit. However, there are many different variations of polleras outside of the pollera de gala, and differences base on region. Another common type of the pollera is that of the pollera congo, with its origins among the Afro-Colonial population of Colón. The most common style of the pollera congo is a colorful patchwork one made by the use old fabrics, and it reflects the polleras worn by African women during the days of slavery. A woman who wears a pollera is referred to as an empollerada.

Polleras are usually accompanied by jewelry and accessories. The most common ones are the peinetas and tembleques. Peinetas are golden tortoise-shaped combs that surround the head like a halo, while tembleques are ornaments made of wire, pearls, or crystals; attached to the peinetas. These two accessories are often passed down by families as heirlooms.

El Sombrero Pintado

Is a traditional Panamanian hat most commonly worn by men, but occasionally by women as well. Recognized by its distinctive pattern of white and black rings, its origins are in the province of Coclé, however these days its seen as a national icon similar to pollera de gala. It is handwoven using the fibers of plants bleached in the sun; the rings that are black are made by using an Indigenous method of boiling fibers with chisná bush leafs, which cause a natural black dye. The cost of a hat is based on the number of rings, and hats with more than twenty rings can take up to a month to make. 

Colombian children play in front of a grocery store advertising products in Palenquero

Palenquero is Latin America’s only surviving African-Spanish creole, that is spoken natively as a first language. Its speakers are based in the maroon town of San Basilio de Palenque on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Palenque is considered to be the first self-liberated settlement of Afro-descendants in South America; founded in the 17th century by Africans seeking refuge from slavery. Although Palenquero employs the lexicon of various African languages, most of the Africans brought to the Caribbean coast of Colombia were from areas of modern-day Congo and Angola, and for this reason over 90% of the creole’s African-based lexicon has it’s origins in the Bantu linguistic family. The language is believed to be the most African-infused creole in the Americas, given it’s long history and isolation from European languages, and for this reason there’s little mutual intelligibility between Spanish and Palenquero speakers. 

In the last few decades there has been a language shift from Palenquero to Spanish, and for this reason the number of native speakers has dropped significantly. It is estimated that only about half of the town speaks Palenquero fluently, that 88.7 percent of high school students use Spanish as their first language, and that only 15 percent of those students have frequent access to the Palenquero language outside school. One of the reasons for this shift, is that many Palenqueros traveled outside of their town to work in nearby banana plantations, where they were discriminated and ostracized for speaking their language by Spanish speakers; which until that time they had little to no interaction with. Another reason for the language shift, is due to accessibility with the rest of Colombia through the media. 

However, with accessibility to the rest of Colombia via television and radio, also came accessibility to various cultures in Africa. Cultural interactions between Palenque and Africa have strengthened the black pride and consciousness of Palenqueros, which has also given the community an urgency to preserve the language. Many young musicians perform champeta songs in the Palenquero language; champeta is a popular genre of music which mixes Palenquero folklore and West/Central African genres such as soukous and highlife. Palenquero has also been made a mandatory language in schools, and linguists have also created the first dictionary of the language with the help of the towns elders. Recent studies have found a trend in younger generations, welcoming the concept of bilingualism.