Read Latin America’s Cold War by Hal Brands

Latin America’s Cold War by Hal Brands is the first historical text to take an international perspective on the postwar decades in the Latin American region. Hal Brands sets out to explain what exactly happened in Latin America during the Cold War, and why it was so traumatic. Ultimately, Brands exposes Latin America’s Cold War as not a single conflict, but rather a series of overlapping political, social, geostrategic, and ideological struggles whose repercussions can be felt to this day.

Read Hal Brands’ Latin America’s Cold War  and check out the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba. Present day Cuba discussed in the documentary can not be fully understood without the context and history that Brands’ historical text provides.

Latin America's Cold War

Haitian Revolution and Latinidad

Toussaint L’Ouverture, Leader of the Haitian Revolution

This is a picture of Toussaint L’Ouverture, he led the only successful slave rebellion during the Haitian Revolution. Though I learned about Toussaint L’Ouverture growing up, the entirety of his contributions to Latino culture, and Haiti’s relationship to Latinidad, was not emphasized until I was older.

Like many other people of color in this country, I was not specifically taught about my cultural history during my K-12 education. Once I reached college, everything I knew about Latino culture and history was gleaned from either social interaction, segments of history class, movies, and my parents. I had to purposefully seek out courses on Latino history to know even the little bit that I know today.


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Capoeira: Artful Resistance

Historical Rendition of Capoeira. Image courtesy of

Historical Rendition of Capoeira. Image courtesy of

The history of slavery in the U.S. is taught nationwide; however, slavery elsewhere in the world is barely touched upon in school curriculum. Yet, the resilience and ingenuity that enslaved Africans displayed during and after the Trans-Atlantic slave trade extends beyond U.S. borders. From the 16th to 19th centuries, Brazil was the main destination for Africans sold across the Atlantic and contained the largest slave population in the world. Just as slaves in the U.S. used music, poetry and dance to preserve their heritage and subtly organize against oppressors, African slaves in Brazil also created new forms of art and defense. One of the most influential creations to come from this period is a type of martial arts called Capoeira.


Chávez, Salsa and AfroVenezolanos

AfroVenezuelan group "Eleggua." Photo courtesy of

AfroVenezuelan group “Eleggua.” Photo courtesy of

In honor of AfroLatin@ Heritage Month, I want to pay tribute to two of my great loves: Salsa music and racial justice! Two dynamic personalities empowered a nation of AfroVenezolanos (AfroVenezuelans): Oscar D’León, one of my favorite salseros, and Hugo Chávez, the late president of Venezuela, who died at age 58 in March 2013.


Call for Submissions: AfroLatin@ Heritage Month

Image Courtesy of DemocratandChronicle

Image Courtesy of DemocratandChronicle

Progressive Pupil is looking forward to celebrating AfroLatin@ Heritage Month in September and we need your help! Artists, teachers, activists, local business leaders, we want to hear your stories about working for racial justice in your community and share your struggles and triumphs with our readership. Essays, photo journals, film reviews and creative fiction are all welcome. Please limit submissions to 750 words or less and include at least one photo or video. Send submissions to:

The Old Jim Crow in the New South

In a country where Latino and Black communities will soon become the majority, the United States is faced with a political dilemma. Should undocumented immigrants be allowed to become citizens or should politicians tighten border policing and increase deportation rates?

This hotly debated topic has views that fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. While President Obama deported as many people in his first term as George Bush did in two, some progressive measures have been advocated by his administration. In June of 2012, President Obama issued a Department of Homeland Security directive to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who obtained a high school diploma, its equivalent or served in the military. Meanwhile, many Republican legislators who rejected proposals like the DREAM Act derided the President’s decree, equating it to amnesty. In the same month then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed he would veto the DREAM Act if it came across his desk, but he would work hard to pave the way for legal residency – a move away from his previous recommendation of “self deportation.” This type of immigration policy focuses on exploiting financial gains from legal immigrant labor instead of granting migrants what they really need – citizenship and voting power to improve their access to basic human rights like healthcare, education and labor protections. If an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants – a large portion of which are anticipated to vote democratic – are granted citizenship, they could put the Republican Party in danger of losing political strong holds like Texas and Arizona.