Stories and stereotypes play a key role in dehumanization, argues David Livingstone Smith, and Paulina Alberto's beautiful book absolutely proves it. It deconstructs the legend of an allegedly orphaned and broken character from early twentieth-century Argentina, “el negro Raúl,” and restores the biography of Raúl Grigera, a member of a rich Afroporteño community and a worthy builder of his own celebrity. That celebrity was neither easy nor free. Raúl would pay its cost in life and posthumously, his chroniclers crafting stories of his life within a racist national metanarrative in which Black people in Argentina were out of place or disappearing.

The book crosses 150 years of Argentine history, a history not usually thought of and written about in a racial key. Chapters 1–2 discuss Raúl's ancestors, his childhood, and his community. Alberto builds on the pioneering work of George Reid Andrews and Lea Geler on Afroporteño newspapers, and by...

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