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PBS series, ‘Black in Latin America,’ comes to PCC campuses

Story by Kate Chester.

Beginning Feb. 28, students, staff and faculty at Portland Community College get the chance to increase their awareness and understanding about the cultures and contributions of people of African descent in Latin America.

From the “Black in Latin America” PBS series, coming to PCC.

“Dominican Republic and Haiti: An Island Divided” – the first in a four-part PBS documentary series coming to PCC – will be shown:

  • At Cascade Campus – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 28, Auditorium, Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building.
  • At Rock Creek Campus – 2-4 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 29, Event Center, Building 9.
  • At Sylvania Campus – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, March 1, Room 101, Science and Technology Building.

The screening will be followed by a discussion led by guest speaker Clare Washington, who teaches in the Black Studies department at Portland State University. A Fulbright scholar who has conducted research in the Caribbean, Washington has focused her studies and teaching on women and resistance in the African Diaspora, as well as resistance movements in the Caribbean and the United States.

From “Dominican Republic and Haiti: An Island Divided”

“The film is fascinating,” said Sarah Bentley, Spanish instructor and Service-Learning faculty coordinator at the Sylvania Campus, who helped to organize the film’s screening.

While in the Dominican Republic, the film’s host – Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. — explores how race has been socially constructed and how the country’s troubled history with Haiti informs notions about racial classification. And in Haiti, he tells the story of the first-ever black republic and finds out how the slaves’ fight for liberation became a double-edged sword.

“Coupled with a follow-up conversation led by Professor Washington, and we’ll have created an educational opportunity that should produce a rich, diverse and colorful discussion,” said Bentley.

From “Dominican Republic and Haiti: An Island Divided”

The event – which is free of charge and open to all students, staff and faculty – is sponsored by the college’s Internationalization Initiative. Other PBS episodes as part of the “Black in Latin America” series will be shown at the college in the spring term.

For more information, contact one of the film’s organizers, Charlotte Boeschen, at


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