Presentation Title

Invisibility of Blackness in Latin-American Literature: The Case of Two Afro-Latina Writers, Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz

Presenter Information

Gicela Diaz MaravillaFollow

Faculty Mentor

Laverne Seales

Start Date

17-11-2018 10:15 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 10:30 AM

Location

C308

Session

Oral 2

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

Jessie Whitehead in his essay “Invisibility of Blackness: Visual Responses of Kerry James Marshall” points out that the invisibility of blackness is an ongoing contemporary issue. The Afro-Latino culture is a combination of traditions, music, religion, language, and literature among others. One-third of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean is made up of Afro-descendants (Unciencia). However, Afro-Latinos and their contributions are continually ignored by a majority of the academic community. As Julian Gerstin mentions in his review of the book Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1940, books and pieces of literature with Afro-Latin themes most commonly attract readers interested in “African Diasporic Issues” and not general audiences. Many professors fail to include Afro-Latino writers and their literature in their classes and literary textbooks provide very little material, if any, about them. Nancy Morejón (1944) and Victoria Santa Cruz (1922- 2014) are two female writers which are among the most visible in the Afro-Latino community, and yet remain relatively invisible when considering Latin American Literature. Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz are examples of a minority of Afro-Latin writers whose poems highlight the realities of Afro-descendants in Latin America. The literary richness and complexity of Afro-Latino Literature is represented in the poems "Mujer Negra" and “Me gritaron Negra” by Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz, which will be the focus of this paper. Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz, narrate their personal journeys as women of African descent living in Latin America as a reflection of the Afro-Latino population through the use of vivid imagery. This imagery is enhanced by the rhythm found within the poems which take us back to the sounds of Africa. These women writers focus on shaping and contributing to a new theme in Latin American literature in which the black person is no longer just a decoration, a slave or secondary character, but now they are agents of their own history and present themselves as free, powerful and as peoples worthy of being recognized. Both writers use their pens to highlight African culture in Latin America and use their literature to raise their voices as a sign of a cultural identity that should be recognized internationally as part of the literary canon.

Summary of research results to be presented

Nancy Morejón (1944) and Victoria Santa Cruz (1922- 2014) are two Afro-Latina writers whose poems "Mujer Negra" and “Me gritaron Negra” demonstrate the literary richness and complexity of Afro-latino literature which should be more widely recognized in the literary canon. Many of the works of Afro-Latino writers is underrepresented and remain in obscurity. Other research shows the lack of inclusion of the Afro-Latino in textbooks, class curriculums and the university campus.

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Nov 17th, 10:15 AM Nov 17th, 10:30 AM

Invisibility of Blackness in Latin-American Literature: The Case of Two Afro-Latina Writers, Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz

C308

Jessie Whitehead in his essay “Invisibility of Blackness: Visual Responses of Kerry James Marshall” points out that the invisibility of blackness is an ongoing contemporary issue. The Afro-Latino culture is a combination of traditions, music, religion, language, and literature among others. One-third of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean is made up of Afro-descendants (Unciencia). However, Afro-Latinos and their contributions are continually ignored by a majority of the academic community. As Julian Gerstin mentions in his review of the book Nationalizing Blackness: Afrocubanismo and Artistic Revolution in Havana, 1920-1940, books and pieces of literature with Afro-Latin themes most commonly attract readers interested in “African Diasporic Issues” and not general audiences. Many professors fail to include Afro-Latino writers and their literature in their classes and literary textbooks provide very little material, if any, about them. Nancy Morejón (1944) and Victoria Santa Cruz (1922- 2014) are two female writers which are among the most visible in the Afro-Latino community, and yet remain relatively invisible when considering Latin American Literature. Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz are examples of a minority of Afro-Latin writers whose poems highlight the realities of Afro-descendants in Latin America. The literary richness and complexity of Afro-Latino Literature is represented in the poems "Mujer Negra" and “Me gritaron Negra” by Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz, which will be the focus of this paper. Nancy Morejón and Victoria Santa Cruz, narrate their personal journeys as women of African descent living in Latin America as a reflection of the Afro-Latino population through the use of vivid imagery. This imagery is enhanced by the rhythm found within the poems which take us back to the sounds of Africa. These women writers focus on shaping and contributing to a new theme in Latin American literature in which the black person is no longer just a decoration, a slave or secondary character, but now they are agents of their own history and present themselves as free, powerful and as peoples worthy of being recognized. Both writers use their pens to highlight African culture in Latin America and use their literature to raise their voices as a sign of a cultural identity that should be recognized internationally as part of the literary canon.