Schomburg’s Stance (Black History 365)

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, was an Afro Puerto Rican historian, writer, collector, and activist. He was a trailblazer for preserving black history, especially in the Caribbean. Schomburg identified as Black and Puerto Rican ancestry, but he always put his African (black) identity to the forefront as opposed to some of the future generations (Dominicans & Puerto Ricans) who won’t identify and some still to this day won’t acknowledge their black ancestry. In regards to this, Schomburg had an ardent outlook on teaching and preserving Black History, while recognizing that there was an emphasis by Europeans on erasing blackness in the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. Case in point, Schomburg wrote an essay in 1934 that highlighted how “white Spaniards deliberately concealed 18th century Puerto Rican painter Jose Campeche’s African heritage, all while celebrating his accomplishments. Moreover, this concealment became detrimental because it facilitated ignorance to an ethnic group that would think they are supercilious than others that have African ancestry. Schomburg’s mindset was the antithesis of that and in fact, he was heavily involved in the Harlem Renaissance which we all know was a cultural phenomenon.

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