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Pub Date 16 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024

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Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro’s writing blends research and fiction to summon voices silenced in archival records. The protagonists actively dissent from their condition as slaves and, more importantly, from their condition as negras—an identity constructed by and under Eurocentric epistemology. It doesn’t matter whether the slave owners’ initials inscribed on their flesh with blazing iron ever disappear; there won’t be a way to identify them if they don’t have a say. No wonder it’s “the historians, for leaving us out,” to whom Arroyo Pizarro dedicates Negras, aware that the stories of Wanwe, Ndizi, Tshanwe, and Petra burst into and fill historical lacunae that have been deliberately ignored. This bilingual edition also includes an anthology of Arroyo Pizarro’s poetry.


Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro has published several books that foster a debate on Afro-identity and sexual diversity. Arroyo Pizarro directs the Department of Afro-Puerto Rican Studies, a creative writing performance project hosted by the Cátedra de Mujeres Negras Ancestrales. The Spanish publication of Negras received the Puerto Rico PEN Club National Award for short fiction.

Alejandro Álvarez Nieves is a writer, translator, and professor.

Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro’s writing blends research and fiction to summon voices silenced in archival records. The protagonists actively dissent from their condition as slaves and, more importantly...

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ISBN 9798987926420
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Featured Reviews

In her groundbreaking work "Negras," Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro meticulously unravels the veiled history of Black women who defied the shackles of slavery on Puerto Rico's soil. With profound insight, Arroyo Pizarro brings to light the stories of these resilient women, shedding light on their role in individual and collective acts of resistance that reverberate through history. Arroyo Pizarro lays bare the courageous escapades of Black women who transcended the boundaries of enslavement and societal norms.

Importantly, "Negras" casts a much-needed spotlight on the often-overlooked contributions of Black women to Puerto Rico's historical tapestry. Arroyo Pizarro's work challenges prevailing narratives and rectifies historical omissions, offering a fresh perspective that enriches our understanding of Puerto Rico's complex past. By giving voice to these unsung heroines, the author not only acknowledges their invaluable role but also acknowledges the intersectionality of their struggles.

Arroyo Pizarro delves deep into the heart of Puerto Rico's history, demonstrating how the legacy of enslaved Black women is interwoven with the island's very foundation. Her meticulous research and empathetic storytelling unveil the trauma, strength, and resilience that these women embodied. By doing so, she honors their memory and underscores the imperative of recognizing their agency within a history that has often marginalized their experiences.

"Negras" is a testament to Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro's dedication to historical preservation and social justice. This book not only serves as a tribute to those who fought for their freedom but also as a call to continue the work of acknowledging, valuing, and amplifying the voices of marginalized communities. "Negras" is an essential literary work that transcends the boundaries of conventional historical discourse on the island. Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro's dedication to unearthing the stories of enslaved Black women in Puerto Rico elevates this book to a status of utmost importance. Thank you to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy!

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This book was a welcome addition to the ever-expanding canon of literature engaging critically and lyrically with the legacies of racist colonial violence in the Global South. Steeped in legacies of erasure, colonial subjugation and destruction, this book is unmissable.

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