Africa in the Caribbean

 Thread Assignment

“Africa in the Caribbean” is a television program that airs Wednesday on the History Channel. The producers of the show are preparing an episode on the experience and legacy of African slavery in the Caribbean. They have contacted you to give a short video presentation (5 to 7 minutes) on the experience of slave-driven sugar plantations during the early 19th century in Puerto Rico.

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First, the producers of the show are interested in you challenging a number of false claims that scholars in the past (and a very ignorant and racist past at that) have used to characterize slavery in Puerto Rico. Given the length of the segment, you are to go base on the false claim under this.

False Claim 1:

In Puerto Rico, the development of sugar plantations and the slave labor system on which it was anchored had little to do with international external factors.  Thus it is argued that: 1) the production of sugar was aimed primarily to supply the local demand of puertorrican consumer; 2) the planters were native born Criollo who used their own capital to invest in the development of sugar plantations; 3) Spain’s colonial policy towards Puerto Rico in the early 1800s had little or no influence in creating the conditions for the rise of sugar plantations 4) that slaves working in the sugar plantations during the 19th century were for the most part born and raised in Puerto Rico, that is, they were not African-born slaves.

Secondly, the producers of the show would like you to speak about Bomba music. In particular they would like you to speak about the role of Bomba during slavery and what you consider to be its historical and ongoing significance of this afro-puertorrican musical tradition.



Unit 3: Sugar, Slavery and Cultures of Resistance in La Costa (1780s-1850s)





    • Bomba:

    • Santería:



  1. Basics of the presentation: a) introduce yourself at the beginning b) be sure to mention which of the false claims you will be challenging c)Use DIRECT QUOTES from Baralt’s book and From the Documentary to stake your claims


Here are the rubrics I will be using to evaluate your presentation:

  • (40 points) Supporting Material: A variety of types of supporting materials (explanations, examples, illustrations, statistics, analogies, quotations from relevant authorities) make appropriate reference to information or analysis that significantly supports the presentation.
  • (70 points) Central message: Message is compelling (precisely stated, appropriately repeated, memorable, and strongly supported.)
  • (25 points) Delivery: Delivery techniques (posture, gesture, eye contact, and vocal expressiveness) make the presentation compelling, and speaker appears polished and confident.
  • (15 points) Language:  Language is imaginative, memorable, and compelling, and enhances the effectiveness of the presentation. Language in presentation is appropriate to audience.



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