How People of African Descent
in the New World
American Founders reveals men and women of African descent as key protagonists in the story of American democracy. It chronicles how black people developed and defended New World settlements, undermined slavery, and championed freedom throughout the hemisphere from the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries.
While conventional history tends to reduce the roles of African Americans to antebellum slavery and the civil rights movement, in reality African residents preceded the English by a century and arrived in the Americas in numbers that far exceeded European migrants up until 1820. Afro-Americans were omnipresent in the founding and advancement of the Americas, and outnumbered Europeans at many times and places, from colonial Peru to antebellum Virginia. African-descended people contributed to every facet of American history as explorers, conquistadores, settlers, soldiers, sailors, servants, slaves, rebels, leaders, lawyers, litigants, laborers, artisans, artists, activists, translators, teachers, doctors, nurses, inventors, investors, merchants, mathematicians, scientists, scholars, engineers, entrepreneurs, generals, cowboys, pirates, professors, politicians, priests, poets, and presidents. The multitude of events and mixed-race individuals included underscore the fact that black and white Americans share the same history, and in many cases, the same ancestry. American Founders is meant to celebrate this shared heritage and strengthen these bonds.
About the Author
Christina Proenza-Coles holds a dual doctorate in sociology and history from the New School for Social Research. She has been a lifelong student of American culture and history while living and working in Miami, New York, Havana, and Charlottesville. From 2004 to 2011 she was an Assistant Professor of the Atlantic World/African Diaspora at Virginia State University. Her ancestors include Daughters of the American Revolution, Portuguese conversos, Cuban pirates, a Confederate sergeant, and a governor of Alabama.