The exhibit is a continuation of DSI’s larger project entitled “First Blacks in the Americas” that has amassed a wealth of paleographic transcriptions and translations.
“By offering these documents, many of which will be presented in the exhibit for the first time, we will allow the public to understand contents that are usually accessible only to specialists trained in paleography, the deciphering of the often intricate handwriting used at the time,” said Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, assistant director of CUNY DSI.
Dr. Lissette Acosta-Corniel, a DSI researcher, said the material would include images of the earliest documents they have been able to track that mention the presence of Blacks in La Española in the 16th century. Dr. Acosta-Corniel and Mr. Stevens-Acevedo, co-wrote the proposal that won a $5,000 grant from CUNY Diversity Projects Development Fund to stage the exhibit.
Dr. Ramona Hernández, director of the CUNY DSI, said the grant allows the institute to advance the ‘First Blacks’ project to the next level. “It provides us with the opportunity to share these historical images that tell us of the beginnings of the transatlantic slave trade and the contributions made by Black people in the Americas from the first moment they arrived,” she noted.
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