Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography

General Editors: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Franklin W. Knight (Johns Hopkins)
Executive Editor: Steven J. Niven

PROJECT WEBSITEToussaint Louverture

In May 2016, the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (DCALAB) was published in a 2080-entry print edition by Oxford University Press. The project was generously funded for five years (2011–2016) by the Mellon Foundation.

From Haitian revolutionary Toussaint Louverture to Brazilian soccer great, Pelé, DCALAB provides a comprehensive overview of the lives of Caribbeans and Afro-Latin Americans who are historically significant. The project is unprecedented in scale, covering the entire Caribbean, and the African-descended populations throughout Latin America, including people who spoke and wrote Creole, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. It encompasses more than 500 years of history, and individuals have been drawn from all walks of life, including philosophers, politicians, activists, entertainers, scholars, poets, scientists, religious figures, kings, and everyday people whose lives have contributed to the history of the Caribbean and Latin America. They include Pedro Alonso Niño, also known as “El Negro,” who made four voyages to the Caribbean, the first as the pilot of Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria in 1492, and leaders of many slave rebellions, including Bayano (Panama); Francisco Congo (Peru); Kofi of Berbice (Guyana); Nanny Grig (Barbados), Joseph Chatoyer (St Vincent); Tacky (Jamaica); and Zumbi and Dandara of Palmares (Brazil). Twentieth-century entries include the Nobel Laureates Derek Walcott and Sir Arthur Lewis— both from the tiny island of St. Lucia—as well as Haitian musician and politician Wyclef Jean; the Cuban author and poet Nancy Morejón; and the Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt, the fastest human of all time. More than 300 entries—15 percent of the entire print edition—were submitted in languages other than English, a reflection of the significant contributions of scholars based in Latin America and the Caribbean to the project. All entries were added to the African American Studies Center in July 2017, and the project continues online at http://www.oxfordaasc.com/