Norman E. Whitten, Jr. has written a book rich in descriptive detail concerning black frontiersmen in western Colombia and northwestern Ecuador. The book is divided into two separate sections: Part I, Afro-Hispanic Adaptation; and Part II, Afro-Hispanic Culture. Part I relies heavily on published secondary material (especially Robert Cooper West) in describing the physical setting and historical dimensions of the region. Whitten’s major contributions clearly lie in the second section where he carefully describes the black frontiersmen’s dwellings, occupations, rituals, kinship patterns, and social relationships. Of special value are his discussions of secular and sacred rituals (97-145). The meanings of dances, stories, and religious ceremonies are succinctly analyzed and make fascinating reading. Whitten concludes with some thoughts concerning modern race relations and an analysis of the various words used to describe the black frontiersmen (174-184). Unfortunately, the reader is never exactly certain what is meant by the term Afro-Hispanic (Whitten acknowledges this problem, xiv), or what African and Hispanic forces mingled to create the specific rituals and customs in the region under examination.
Book Review| November 01 1975
Black Frontiersmen: A South American Case
Black Frontiersmen: A South American Case. By Whitten, Norman E.Jr.
Schenkman Publishing Company. . Pp.
Hispanic American Historical Review (1975) 55 (4): 838.
William F. Sharp; Black Frontiersmen: A South American Case. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 November 1975; 55 (4): 838. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-55.4.838
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