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While MEAP collections all reflect community experiences and cultural heritage from outside the United States, we recognize the importance of Black History Month in lifting up stories of Black Americans to fill gaps in our historical understanding and communal memory. In this spirit, MEAP is highlighting six funded projects committed to organizing and digitizing Black histories across the Americas.

Recognizing Black History Month in the U.S. is also an opportunity to learn about other Black history celebrations across the region and to recognize the unique histories of Black communities in the Americas. Among numerous honorific days and months, consider:

  • Brazil celebrates Black History Month in November through “The Month of Black Consciousness”

  • Argentina designates a week in November for recognizing “Afro-Argentines History and Culture”

  • Uruguay honors “Black Heritage Month” in July

  • Colombia celebrates “Afro-descendants” in May

  • Costa Rica celebrates “Black Person and Afro-Costa Rican Culture” on August 31

  • Honduras celebrates “African Heritage” in April

While Black history months tend to remain within national boundaries, we can also remember the many points of intersection and engagement of Black people across the Americas. Migration and diaspora entangle these histories. For example, Malcolm X’s mother was born in Grenada. Shirley Chisolm’s mother was from Barbados and her father was Guyanese. WEB Dubois’s father was born in Haiti and had Bahamian ancestors. Additionally, there is a long history of Black movements conversing with and learning from one another.*

Below, we feature six collections, one from Haiti, one from Barbados, two from Brazil and two from Uruguay, that document histories of space, community, diaspora and resistance. We invite you to explore these collections and read about the work still in progress.

Thank you to MEAP Panel Members Alejandra Bronfman, Gloria Chacon and Erika Edwards for their contributions to this piece and for lending so much of their expertise to the work of MEAP.

*To highlight one example, scholars Keisha-Khan Y. Perry and Edilza Sotero, have written about the Black feminist Brazilian scholar, Lelia Gonzalez, who engaged deeply with U.S. Black studies in the 1970s and 80s. Read more about Gonzalez’s work in Keisha-Khan Y. Perry and Edilza Sotero “Amefricanidade: The Black Diaspora Feminism of Lélia Gonzalez,” LASA FORUM 50:3 60-64. Available at:

Explore MEAP Collections

Our History is Our Force: Protecting Haitian National Patrimony (Haiti)

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) from Florida International University, partnered with The Institut de Sauvegarde du Patrimoine National (ISPAN), has digitized ISPAN’s archive on the Palace of Sans-Souci and Citadelle Henri built in the early 19th century after Haiti’s independence from France. This collection includes records on the archaeological digs, photos of national monuments and sites, and research from Haitian scholars. Most unique about this collection is the team’s accomplished goal of creating item-level descriptions in Creole / Kreyòl, in addition to French and English, giving the materials a stronger connection to the local community.

Ephemera from the Barbados Department of Archives

The Barbados Ephemera Collection includes over 1000 objects that cover the decades following the Independence of Barbados (1966) and the subsequent transition from colony to independent state. Items in this collection reflect and document the lives of ordinary people beyond elite voices at a foundational period in the history of Barbados. While items in the collection are specific to Barbados, they address broader global movements of the 20th century, including civil rights struggles, women's rights, identity formation, and political realities.

Afro-Indigenous Brazilian Struggles for Recognition (Brazil)

From the early 1980s to the 2000s, independent artists from Rio de Janeiro’s non-profit Enugbarijo Communications (est. 1981) recorded videos that captured two decades of Afro, Feminist, and Indigenous human rights movements in Brazil. This videotape archive documents the country’s sociopolitical history, including activism that led to the 1988 re-writing of the Brazilian Constitution and more.

Memory and Identity of Afro-Brazilian Archives (Brazil)

The Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (CEBRAP) and University of São Paulo (USP) collaborate to preserve the The Soweto Black Organization archive. This material documents Black agency in Brazilian history, including grassroots activism and the transnational consequences for democracy from 1964 to the 1990s. The three major periods of the country’s history surrounding this material are: (1) the onset of the military dictatorship (1964), (2) the democratization of Brazilian government (the 1980s), and (3) the aftermath (from the 1990s onwards). This project aims to enrich the available historical archives by enabling access to material about human-rights struggles, demand for African history in education, and Afro-Brazilian religious and cultural self-preservation.

Preserving and Publishing the Largest Afro-Uruguayan Multimedia Archive (Uruguay)

The Archivo Sociedad en Movimientos is working to preserve the largest archive of Afro-Uruguayan history of the 20th century, which includes print, photographic, and AV items from the personal collection of Tomás Olivera, a movement pioneer of the time. This collection offers a rich, vast set of materials that not only offer a wide variety of perspectives on local history, but also address the great absence of Afro-Uruguayan narratives in published archives.

The House of Afro-Uruguayan Culture (Uruguay)

Located in Montevideo, The House of Afro-Uruguayan Culture holds print, audio, and video materials related to the Black political and social organizations of Uruguay, from the mid-20th century onwards. Primarily, this archive works to represent the histories of family formation supporting Black social organizations. A major highlight of this collection is genealogical records, which reflect not only Black populations during slavery, but also reflect Black struggle for equality and recognition in Latin America. This project is in progress.