Before reading the article:
How much do you know about the Dominican Republic? Take our short, five-question quiz below to test your knowledge. Then tell us one new thing you learned about the country’s geography, history or culture.
Can You Find the Dominican Republic on a Map?
What else do you know about the Dominican Republic’s geography, history and culture? Take our quiz to learn more.
Now, read the article, “Preserving Black American History Through Song in the Dominican Republic,” and answer the following questions:
1. What role does the African Methodist Episcopal Church play in Martha Leticia Wilmore’s life?
2. Ms. Wilmore is a descendant of a group of more than 300 African-Americans who chartered a boat to Samana in 1824 from Philadelphia. Why did this group travel to and settle in Samana?
3. How did the church help them preserve their African-American heritage?
4. Why were the group’s culture and community at risk when President Rafael Trujillo took power in 1930?
5. What factors complicate the descendants’ definition of their Dominican identity?
6. In the face of these challenges, what are they doing to maintain their African-American roots?
7. How do the younger descendants of the African-American settlers of 1824 identify themselves? How do they feel about their cultural history and why?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
What are your cultural roots? How do you, your family and your community maintain your history and cultural practices? Where and from whom have you learned about your heritage?
In your opinion, how important is it to preserve one’s history and culture? Should young people learn about their ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds? Or should they assimilate into the wider society or culture in which they live?
Have you ever had to make a decision to maintain a part of your culture or let it go so that you could fit in? If so, what did you do and why?