by Victoria Cepeda
As we mark the beginning of Black History Month, we could have showcased countless of historical figures that are African Americans such as Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Madam C.J. Walker (America’s first millionaire of any race) and so forth. After all, Black History month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. However, I wanted to focus on writers that, for some reason or another, are not as well known within the Latino community. Thanks to Sasa Bella, a member of the Pa’lante familia, we can introduce you to Edwidge Danticat, a prime example of an author that deserves a special mention.
Ms. Danticat was born in Haiti in 1969 and migrated to the U.S. when she was twelve years old. As a young girl the experience of being uprooted from her neighborhood in Port-au-Prince to Brooklyn called for great determination to overcome taunting and falling prey to stereo types. She credits older folks back in her homeland for her writing and story telling techniques. As a child she recalls listening to a particular lady tell stories for the whole block as kids, and adults alike, listened enthralled. Today Edwidge is considered to be the leading voice in her community and has been recognized with several awards like the Pushcart Short Story Prize and fiction awards from The Carribean Writer, Seventeen, and Essence magazines. To think that her parents would discourage her from dedicating herself to writing, to find a real career. Well, I am glad Edwidge followed her heart and plan on reading as many of her books as possible. Among her most notorious work of fiction are:
Hail to our writers, hail to Ms. Danticat for painting our world with color, flavor and cultural legacies from Haiti and incorporating it into main stream America.
Excerpt from the “Brother I am Dying:“
Black History month:
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