Drops of Inclusivity
Racial Formations and Meanings in Puerto Rican Society, 1898-1965
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A critical view of race relations on the island of Puerto Rico from 1898 to 1965.
Drops of Inclusivity examines race and racism on the island of Puerto Rico by combining a wide-angle historical narrative with the individual stories of Black Puerto Ricans. While some of these Afro-Boricuas, such as Roberto Clemente and Ruth Fernández, are well known, others, such as Cecilia Orta and Juan Falú Zarzuela, have been largely forgotten, if remembered at all. Individually and collectively, their words and lives speak to the persistent power of racial hierarchies and responses to them across periods, from the Spanish-American War at the turn of the twentieth century to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visit to the island in the early 1960s. Drawing on rich archival research, Milagros Denis-Rosario shows how Afro-Boricuas denounced, navigated, and negotiated racism in the fields of education, law enforcement, literature, music, the military, performance, politics, and more. Each instance of self-determination marks a gain in inclusivity—gota a gota, or drop by drop, as the saying goes in Puerto Rico. This study pays homage to them.
Milagros Denis-Rosario is Associate Professor of History in the Department of Africana, Puerto Rican, and Latino Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York.
"Drops of Inclusivity crucially underscores the agency of Black Puerto Ricans across different time periods and socioeconomic classes, including everyday people who filed lawsuits for discrimination, wrote letters to institutions, and navigated the education system. Their stories show how commonplace and systemic antiblack racism has always been despite depictions of Puerto Rico as a racial democracy. Most importantly, this book centers the varied ways Black Puerto Ricans have negotiated their position within Puerto Rican society, and organized around racial issues." — Petra R. Rivera-Rideau, author of Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico