Afro-Central Americans in New York City:
Garifuna Tales of Transnational Movements in Racialized Space

Sarah England

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"A fascinating and richly detailed ethnographic study of a unique and little-known transmigrant population. . . . Well written, highly informed, and theoretically sophisticated, this book will be very useful to scholars, teachers, and students of migration, cultural studies, and race and ethnicity."--Nora Hamilton, University of Southern California

Born of the union between African maroons and the Island Carib on colonial St. Vincent, and later exiled to Honduras, the Garifuna way of life combines elements of African, Island Carib, and colonial European culture. Beginning in the 1940s, this cultural matrix became even more complex as Garifuna began migrating to the United States, forming communities in the cities of New York, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. Moving between a village on the Caribbean coast of Honduras and the New York City neighborhoods of the South Bronx and Harlem, England traces the daily lives, experiences, and grassroots organizing of the Garifuna.

Concentrating on how family life, community life, and grassroots activism are carried out in two countries simultaneously as Garifuna move back and forth, England also examines the relationship between the Garifuna and Honduran national society and discusses much of the recent social activism organized to protect Garifuna coastal villages from being expropriated by the tourism and agro-export industries.

Based on two years of fieldwork in Honduras and New York, her study examines not only how this transnational system works but also the impact that the complex racial and ethnic identity of the Garifuna have on the surrounding societies. As a people who can claim to be black, indigenous, and Latino, the Garifuna have a complex relationship not only with U.S. and Honduran societies but also with the international community of nongovernmental organizations that advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples and blacks.

Sarah England is professor of anthropology at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, California.

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…succeeds in illuminating a "prime example of how racial, ethnic, and national identities are constructed and negotiated."
--Latin American Research Review

"Sarah England provides an ethnographically rich exploration of the ways in which Farifuna communities and grassroots organisations negotiate the transnational complexities of race, class, gender, ethnicity and nationhood as a multivalent diasporic people."
--Latin American Studies

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