First Blacks in The Americas

The African Presence in The Dominican Republic

Thanks and acknowledgements

The CUNY Dominican Studies Institute (CUNY DSI) thanks New York State Assemblyman Hon. Keith Wright for the initial partial funding for the First Blacks in the Americas project provided in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 through special New York State legislative grants. Those grants sustained the work of the earliest research assistants assigned to this project. We also thank New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez for his decisive leading support from the Council in the form of funds that have allowed a great deal of the research produced by CUNY DSI in recent years, including the research and construction of this academic and educational website.

CUNY DSI also thanks Spain’s Ministerio de Cultura, Educación y Deporte for their continued willingness to authorize us to reproduce and publish all the images of manuscripts from the Archivo General de Indias of Seville and the Archivo General de Simancas, contained in this website and in other CUNY DSI publications. We thank especially several Directors of Archivo General de Indias and several of the directors of its Departamento de Referencias for their processing of all our requests for manuscript reproductions throughout the years. Our gratitude goes as well to Archivo Histórico Provincial de Sevilla for authorizing us to reproduce some of their manuscripts. The same gratitude we owe to the Archivo Diocesano of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for their permission to reproduce and publish the images of manuscripts in this platform coming from that repository.

First Blacks in the Americas is a project directed and supervised by CUNY DSI’s Director, Dr. Ramona Hernández and has been produced in typical CUNY DSI fashion by an ample team of individuals working during different phases with a strong sense of their ultimate mission of service to the public. It has been executed by a group of CUNY DSI senior and junior researchers led by CUNY DSI’s Assistant Director, Anthony Stevens-Acevedo, coordinated by CUNY DSI's Chief Librarian, Sarah Aponte, with the assistance of Dr. Lissette Acosta Corniel. Mr. Stevens-Acevedo has been in charge of identifying and selecting the manuscripts, as well as producing all the paleographic transcriptions of manuscripts contained in the platform. Prof. Aponte has also produced the bibliography, revised various textual components and provided a fundamental assistance in many aspects of the strategizing of the production process. Dr. Acosta Corniel’s role has been that of revising, structuring and editing all the historical summaries, as well as contributing to the overall thematic design of the platform. Dr. Tim Williams has been in charge of the overall English language editing of the platform. CUNY DSI’s Graphic Artist Javier Pichardo has contributed the entire visual design of the platform's elegant interface. Consultant web developer Amauris de Jesus has constructed the entire digital structure of the site and overseen its functionality. CUNY DSI's Research Assistant Luanna Polanco has been fundamental in the challenging technical work of processing, organizing and uploading all materials onto the platform. CUNY DSI's Research Assistant Matthew Santana has provided assistance in a variety of technical issues pertaining to these same matters.

CUNY DSI's Chief Archivist Idilio Gracia Peña has supervised the preservation and handling of all the archival primary sources in microfilm and compact-disk formats held at the CUNY DSI Archives. Museum Studies specialist Ruth Lizardi, with the collaboration of Research Assistant Xiomara Sánchez, was in charge of organizing and labeling around 4,000 photographs of Dominican historical sites related to the early black presence in the Dominican Republic, separately hosting them on the Flickr.com online system. CUNY DSI’s Accounts & Grants Coordinator Greysi Peralta has taken care of all the accounting, purchasing and personnel hiring associated with the project throughout its entire unfolding.

Other members of CUNY DSI’s junior staff of researchers, former and current, have contributed their enthusiasm and skills whenever they have been asked to intervene. We thank former Assistant Librarian Nelson Santana, Archivist Jessy Pérez, Assistant Librarian Jhensen Ortiz, Assistant Researchers Mariel Acosta and Laura Rivas. A long list of scholars and assistant researchers, working either as seasonal employees or as summer student-interns have also collaborated in researching the scholarship-bibliography from which the thematic summaries of the platform are drawn. They include Altagracia Diloné-Levat, Dr. Griselda Rodríguez, Dr. Ryan Mann-Hamilton, Dr. Fidel Tavárez, María Pérez, Julianny Gómez, Kelly Callao, and John Van Eiker.

Finally, a special acknowledgment and appreciation from CUNY DSI’s First Blacks team goes as well to the mostly Dominican scholars and researchers who during the last five decades have been the pioneers and leading promoters of the study of the history and culture of the Afro-descendants of La Española-Santo Domingo during colonial times, namely Carlos Larrazábal Blanco, Franklin Franco, Carlos Esteban Deive, Hugo Tolentino Dipp, Fradique Lizardo, Dagoberto Tejeda, Martha Ellen Davis, Celsa Albert, Soraya Aracena, Alejandra Liriano, and more recently Lynne Guitar Carlos, Andújar Persinal, Genaro Rodríguez Morel, and José Luis Belmonte Postigo. Their work constitutes the main source of the existing knowledge about the early black presence in what is today the Dominican Republic during its first three centuries of formation as a Caribbean people or ethnicity, and their scholarship has been the basis of the overviews on the earliest blacks of La Española offered in the materials on this website.

Their work constitutes the main source of the existing knowledge about the early black presence in what is today the Dominican Republic during its first three centuries of formation as a Caribbean people or ethnicity, and their scholarship has been the basis of the overviews on the earliest blacks of La Española offered in the materials on this website.