Did you know that less than 5 percent of the 11.2 million enslaved Africans who landed in the New World between 1502 and 1866 came to the United States? Most of the rest went to Latin America and the Caribbean. Their story is being told with the help of The Root's editor-in-chief, Henry Louis Gates Jr., in the new PBS documentary series Black in Latin America. The story of "the hidden presence of blackness throughout the New World," as Gates puts it in the video above, will be told in four parts starting on April 19.
Monday evening at the Ford Foundation in New York City, a gathering of academics, media professionals, philanthropists, and friends and family of Gates previewed the segment on Haiti and the Dominican Republic. After the screening, Gates took questions from the audience, including a query (at the 0:40 mark) about the takeaway for African Americans. "It helps us to understand that we have a huge sisterhood and brotherhood throughout the New World … but I think it will also help us to understand the degree to which the problems afflicting the black community are racial, and the degree to which they're based on class and economic relationships," said Gates.