Before the 1970s, most black activism was manifested primarily in peasant and worker struggles for land, respect, jobs, and justice. The discourse and the organizations of such activists centered on the rights of blacks as farmers, rural laborers, and urban workers. Scholar Jhon Antón Sánchez highlights how four individuals played key roles in laying the foundation for explicitly black and Afro-Ecuadorian identification and organization. Saloman Chala Acosta and Alonso Tadeo from the Chota Valley and Nelson Estupiñán Bass and Juan Garcia from Esmeraldas worked as intellectuals, teachers, and activists to emphasize the ethnic and racial dimensions of the discrimination, marginalization, and oppression suffered by Afro-Ecuadorians. These grassroots leaders had more formal education than most blacks but were deeply rooted in the rural struggles of their communities. As blacks migrated in increasingly large numbers to the urban centers of Guayaquil and Quito, the influence of these leaders spread through their children, family members, friends, students, and fellow activists (Antón Sánchez 2009: 60–69, 125–143; Saloman Acosta interview; Juan Carlos interview; Oswaldo Espinoza interview; Jacqueline Pavon interview).
One of the most important examples of black activism in recent Ecuadorian history occurred in Quito in 1979. The Afro-Ecuadorian Studies Center (Centro de Estudios Afroecuatorianos; CEA) was started by black university students frustrated by their isolation at the Universidad Central; the lack of information on black history, culture, society; and the subordinate socioeconomic and political situation of blacks. These students came from various parts of the country and realized that they knew relatively little about other blacks in their own country. Some of the participants at the center later became well-known black activists, including its first president, historian Andrés Jurado; popular scholar Juan Garcia; anthropologist Oscar Chalá; economist Renán Tadeo; cultural worker Luzmilla Bolanos; and politician Victor Junior Leon (Tadeo 1999; Bolanos interview; Antón Sánchez 2007, 237).
The main objectives of the center were to organize blacks, research Afro-Ecuadorian history, and raise consciousness about the unjust circumstances of overwhelming black poverty. The group met every two weeks at their headquarters in Quito. At these meetings, the participants discussed the situation of their home communities, the situation of blacks in Quito, and the situations of the places where they studied. By the early 1980s, the center was a legally recognized group with officers and special work committees. Tadeo argues that the center had the positive effect of improving understanding between blacks from the highlands and the coast. Because they had shared their life, work, and study experiences with each other, members were better able to confront racial discrimination (Tadeo 1999; Bolanos interview).
Founders of the CEA explored the city of Quito, interviewed Afro-Ecuadorian elders, and began to document the experiences and traditions of black people. The group created an archive of interviews and materials and wrote short, accessible essays and pamphlets on Afro-Ecuadorian history and culture. CEA members reached out to black youth, especially high school students, and encouraged them to work to improve their communities and to take their education seriously. Juan Garcia was one of the leaders in recognizing the beauty and originality of Afro-Ecuadorian culture. He later became a respected advocate, scholar, and defender of black cultural manifestations and traditions, including the poetic storytelling art form of la décima (Bolanos interview; Garcia 1988; Sánchez 2002).
Passionate about what they were doing, many CEA members were influenced by socialist and leftist views popular in Ecuador and Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. These were decades when students, workers, activists, and some armed insurgents were fighting against military dictatorships and authoritarian regimes in South and Central America. But by the mid-1980s, the center began to decline as members returned to their provinces and communities after their university studies. At home, they often formed new organizations that continued the work of the center in new settings (Tadeo 1999; Bolanos interview). Tadeo suggests that the CEA was a seminal experience in the history of black activism in Ecuador. It confirmed the importance of organizing around and affirming black identity and culture.
Ollie Johnson, “Black Activism in Ecuador, 1979–2009,“
Comparative Perspectives on Afro-Latin America (2012)
Hitler, Hess, Pfeffer von Saloman and Elsa Bruckmann
October 25, 1929 at the Zirkus Krone in Munich. Around this time, Hitler had just moved into his swank new apartment at Prinzregentenplatz 16, had met Eva Braun for the first time at Hoffmann’s studio, and was enjoying the financial and social benevolence of the likes of the Bruckmanns. The Wall Street stock market crash of 1929 had just started, and would assist in propelling Hitler to power, since people were in need of a strong leader.
Today I bought these amazing boots. They are made with a super thinsulated material that are not only waterproof but also weatherproof. These will keep my feet warm this winter! Super excited. They also come in white, so I’m wondering if I can rock white boots?
Surprise for Christmas - went to get my skis serviced and mum said - go ahead - get new boots properly fitted - for Xmas! So this season I’ll be skiing in a lot more comfort. Flying out to Austria tomorrow - whoooooop!!