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By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD

Luisa de Peña Díaz, the director of the museum and one of its founders, whose father was killed in 1967 as he plotted an insurrection against the president at the time, Joaquín Balaguer. Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Melba Navarro froze at the image of the man with bulging eyes, his mouth flung open in terror. Or was it pain? He was strapped into an electric chair.

“How horrible was the suffering,” she said, a replica of the chair — a simple wooden seat with straps, a little light bulb on the armrest, a wire snaking from the handle to the socket — behind her. It sits under a single light bulb in a bare, chilly subterranean room meant to evoke the feeling of a torture chamber.

A shock to the conscience is the goal of the new Memorial Museum of Dominican Resistance, which brings into stark relief the years of repressive rule in this country, principally the 30 years of dictatorship under Rafael Trujillo from 1930 to 1961, considered among the bloodiest in Latin America.

In his Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” Junot Díaz explored the Trujillo era and the tendency for Dominicans, indeed cultures the world over, to bury bloody chapters rather than “take the full measure of that traumatic legacy.”

“We patrol our silences with greater energy than we patrol anything,” Mr. Díaz, who was not involved in building the museum, said in an e-mail.

Read more: In Dominican Republic, a Museum of Horrors of Trujillo Era – NYTimes.com.

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Photo Credit: ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com

Saturday, September 3, 2011
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Departs from El Museo’s Lobby
Admission: Free

El Barrio Today Arts Cluster invites you to come explore our neighborhood. Highlights include the Graffiti Wall of Fame, Julia de Burgos Boulevard, local murals and much more. All tours leave from El Museo’s lobby.

The El Barrio Today Arts Cluster is comprised of local organizations who have joined forces to raise awareness about the cultural richness of the area.

FREE admission. RSVP required.

Click here for more info.

PLEASE NOTE: In the event of inclement weather, a guided tour of our Permanent Collection will be offered in lieu of the El Barrio Today tour.

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Words by Led Black (@Led_Black)

Photography by Jay Franco (@_jayfranco)

Video by Amanda Hiciano (@_IamNYC)

Malcolm X changed my life. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley literally put the Black in Led Black. The book which has sold untold millions of copies and influenced everyone from Huey P. Newton, to Spike Lee, to Public Enemy, among many others, seemed to materialize out of nowhere at a crucial point in my development as a person and as a thinker. It was during my years in the Bronx High School of Science that the book found its way into my life and thank god that it did.

Coming from P.S. 143 in Washington Heights, I didn’t know I was poor until I attended Bronx Science. Being that I was the only one from my junior high that year to make it to the prestigious public high school, I virtually had no choice but to make the trek everyday from the hood to Bronx Science. All of sudden I was attending school with kids whose backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses were vastly different from mine. Culture shock was an understatement, which resulted in some existential angst and serious soul searching on my part. I felt adrift and ensnared in a downward spiral of resentment and alienation.

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Writing Workshop

Saturday April 30th, 1 PM – 3 PM

Come learn how to create a great historical fiction story about the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Director of Education, Carol Ward, and Sarah Durham of “Uptown Writers” will lead the session that will introduce writers and aspiring authors to the concepts of subject, setting and character to kick off the 1st edition of the MJM Writing Competition!

The event and competition are open to all ages, prizes will be awarded and the winning stories will be published on the MJM website.

The event is FREE but advanced registration is required. Call 212 923 8008

Morris-Jumel Mansion is Manhattan’s oldest house. Built in 1765 by British officer Roger Morris, the house was later inhabited by George Washington during the Battle of Harlem Heights in 1776 and the Jumel family from 1810 to 1865. The house, now a museum, is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. The museum is located between 160th and 162nd Streets just east of St. Nicholas Avenue and can be easily reached via the C train to 163rd Street, the A train to 168th Street, or the M2, M3, M101 or M18 bus to 160th Street.

Visit the web site at www.morrisjumel.org

The Morris-Jumel Mansion is part of the Historic House Trust of NYC and The Department of Parks and Recreation.

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Black in Latin America, a new four-part series on the influence of African descent on Latin America, is the 11th and latest production from renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., writer and presenter of the acclaimed PBS series African American Lives 1 (2006), Oprah’s Roots (2007), African American Lives 2 (2008), Looking for Lincoln (2009) and most recently Faces of America (2010). Black in Latin America is the third of a trilogy that began in 1999 with the broadcast of Professor Gates first series for public television, Wonders of the African World, an exploration of the relationship between Africa and the New World, a story he continued in 2004 with America Beyond the Color Line, a report on the lives of modern-day African Americans. Black In Latin America, premiering nationally Tuesdays April 19, 26 and May 3, 10, 2011 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings), examines how Africa and Europe came together to create the rich cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Latin America is often associated with music, monuments and sun, but each of the six countries featured in Black in Latin America including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, has a secret history. On his journey, Professor Gates discovers, behind a shared legacy of colonialism and slavery, vivid stories and people marked by African roots. Latin America and the Caribbean have the largest concentration of people with African ancestry outside Africa — up to 70 percent of the population in some countries. The region imported over ten times as many slaves as the United States, and kept them in bondage far longer. On this series of journeys, Professor Gates celebrates the massive influence of millions of people of African descent on the history and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, and considers why and how their contribution is often forgotten or ignored.

Tonight’s Episode takes a look at Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

For more info: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/black-in-latin-america/
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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By DeJesus:

It never ceases to amaze me that the ‘hood (Washington Heights) that I grew up in, the vandalized walls that I leaned on, played off the wall on, pushed up on a girl on, had more value then I would imagine. American Photojournalist, Martha Cooper, realized that value.

In one of her books, Tag Town, she allowed her curiosity, interest  and love of the movement of the moment,capture the NYC tagging graff scene in its infancy(1980’s).  To seize these moments, Ms. Cooper had to spend some time in the Heights. Why? Because according the summary of this book, “Tags are the blueprint and uncouth offspring of graffiti writing culture. The earliest tags in New York were developed in Washington Heights, North Manhattan.” In an interview with InitiArt Magazine, curator, Leanne Sacramone stated the following: “Yes, Graffiti began in the neighborhood in New York, it came out of many other phenomenon that is very complex and the history is very complex. But essentially graffiti started to really develop in Washington Heights in late 1960s – early 1970s. It was a Latino working-class community in Washington Heights, and these young people began to tag lamp-posts, buses, walls, etc. and very quickly the phenomenon spread to the Bronx, Brooklyn and these young people began tagging inside of the trains.”

So in order for Martha Cooper to get to the bottom of this tagging phenomenon, she had to start at the top…The Heights, Baby!

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BY Led Black (@Led_Black)

One of Uptown’s greatest assets is the parks and natural expanses that envelop the neighborhood in a sea of green.  My favorite park, by far, is Inwood Hill Park, which runs from Dyckman Street and Payson Avenue all the way to the very tip of Manhattan.  More than just a park, Inwood Hill Park is the last remaining primeval forest in all of Manhattan.  It is 196 acres of natural beauty; 200+-year old trees, the last salt water marsh in the island as well as wildlife such as hawks, wild turkeys, possums among many more.  The Lenape Indians that inhabited the area called it Shorakapok, meaning either “the wading place,” “the edge of the river,” or “the place between the ridges.”  There was a Native American presence in the area all the way up to the 1930’s.  In my humble estimation, you can still feel their aura in this edenic paradise set amid the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.  The Inwood Hill Nature Center, located in the northern end of the park, is an ideal place to learn about the park’s ecology, history and other park related subjects. The Urban Park Rangers, located onsite, provide tours and nature workshops for the public.  If you would like to see how Manhattan looked and felt in pre-colonial times you could do no better than Inwood Hill Park.

Park Portfolio – Inwood Hill Park

For more info: www.nycgovparks.org/parks/inwoodhillpark

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