The tenacity, diversity and rich history of Caribbean people in America, has strengthened our country and enriched our traditions. Historically, Caribbean people have had a presence in the United States for centuries, beginning in the mid 1600’s. Some came to America’s shores through the bondage of slavery. Others willfully left their homelands behind in search of a better life in this country, known as the ‘land of opportunity’. Regardless of the circumstances that brought them here, Caribbean-Americans have played vital roles in the growth and development of the United States.
Today, the U.S. is home to over four million Caribbean people, who have thrived in every segment of our society. In fact, many notable figures that have broken barriers and helped transform U.S. history and culture and more specifically, Black history and culture in America, are directly connected to the Caribbean.
People like Marcus Garvey, Harry Belafonte, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Malcolm X, Cicely Tyson, Kwame Ture and Shirley Chisholm are among some of the most influential figures of U.S. history. They were either immigrants from, or children of immigrants from the Caribbean region. Yet, all too often this important aspect of their heritage is merely a footnote.
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