Long before the Caribbean was re-discovered by Cristóbal Colón –think Columbus day- the region was home to Caribs and Arawaks.
The Arawaks were a nonviolent people, and they were eventually overwhelmed by the Caribs. The Caribs demise came at the hands of the early Spaniards that were left to conquer -“spread Christianity throughout“- the islands.
Fast forward several hundred years and many of the Caribbean islands today are a milieu and a melting pot of every creed and race.
Over generations, the Caribbean massive have immigrated to the United States and Europe seeking a better way of life for themselves and their families. In June 2006 President Bush finally acknowledged the contributions of Caribbean people by designating June National Caribbean American Heritage Month.
In June 2005, the House of Representatives unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, sponsored by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States. On February 14, 2006, the resolution similarly passed the Senate, culminating a two-year, bipartisan and bicameral effort. The Proclamation was issued by President George Bush on June 6, 2006.
In 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately three million -0.934% of the total U.S. population – people of Caribbean lineage dwelling in the United States, the preponderance of whom are from Haiti and Jamaica.
A couple of well-known Americans with Caribbean ancestry are Colin Powell, Eric Holder, Cicely Tyson, Nicki Minaj, Lenny Kravitz, Sidney Poitier and Alexander Hamilton to name a few. Full list here.
Next time you meet a person with a funny accent from the Caribbean dazzle them with your knowledge of National Caribbean Heritage Month then “ax them to buy you ah doubles and a red solo for being bright!”
Big up all Caribbean massive! “Young, scrappy and hungry.” Doi Doi!
Do you know any other famous people from the Caribbean?