Surviving the Americas: Garifuna Persistance from Nicaragua to New York City

Book cover
May 20, 2021

The Central America Initiative is proud to announce the 2021 publication of Surviving the Americas: Garifuna Persistence from Nicaragua to New York City. Published by the University of Cincinnati Press, the book is the fruit of Seattle University collaboration with researchers in Nicaragua. Co-authors include José (Chepe) Idiáquez, SJ, the president of the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, Leonard Joseph Bent, retired professor and Garifuna sociologist, Andrew Gorvetzian, SU grad, and Serena Cosgrove, the Faculty Coordinator of the Central America Initiative.

The Garifuna are a Central American, Afro-Indigenous people descended from shipwrecked West Africans and local Indigenous groups on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. For over two centuries, the Garifuna have experienced oppression, exile, and continued diaspora that has stretched their communities to Honduras, Belize, and beyond. However, little has been written about the experiences of the Garifuna in Nicaragua, a community of about 5,000 who live primarily on the Caribbean coast of the country.

In Surviving the Americas, the authors shed light on what it means to be Garifuna today, particularly in Nicaragua. Their research includes over nine months of fieldwork in Garifuna communities in the Pearl Lagoon on the southern Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and in New York City. The resulting ethnography illustrates the unique social issues of the Nicaraguan Garifuna and how their culture, traditions, and reverence for their ancestors continues to persist.


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