Blackness in the White Nation

A History of Afro-Uruguay

By George Reid Andrews

256 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 14 illus., 9 tables, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7158-4
    Published: October 2010
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-9960-1
    Published: October 2010
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-8613-2
    Published: October 2010

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Awards & distinctions

2011 Arthur P. Whitaker Prize, Middle Atlantic Council of Latin American Studies

Uruguay is not conventionally thought of as part of the African diaspora, yet during the period of Spanish colonial rule, thousands of enslaved Africans arrived in the country. Afro-Uruguayans played important roles in Uruguay's national life, creating the second-largest black press in Latin America, a racially defined political party, and numerous social and civic organizations.

Afro-Uruguayans were also central participants in the creation of Uruguayan popular culture and the country's principal musical forms, tango and candombe. Candombe, a style of African-inflected music, is one of the defining features of the nation's culture, embraced equally by white and black citizens.

In Blackness in the White Nation, George Reid Andrews offers a comprehensive history of Afro-Uruguayans from the colonial period to the present. Showing how social and political mobilization is intertwined with candombe, he traces the development of Afro-Uruguayan racial discourse and argues that candombe's evolution as a central part of the nation's culture has not fundamentally helped the cause of racial equality. Incorporating lively descriptions of his own experiences as a member of a candombe drumming and performance group, Andrews consistently connects the struggles of Afro-Uruguayans to the broader issues of race, culture, gender, and politics throughout Latin America and the African diaspora generally.

About the Author

George Reid Andrews is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. He is author of Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000.
For more information about George Reid Andrews, visit the Author Page.


"A valuable contribution to the broader history of the African presence in Latin America which has gathered considerable momentum in recent years."--Latin American Review of Books

β€œ[An] engagingly written, creative, and politically relevant study.”--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"Blackness in the White Nation: A History of Afro-Uruguay, offers a refreshingly nuanced and successful statement on the continuing importance of nation-specific analyses in the study of blackness and black history."--H-Net Reviews

β€œA fabulous read . . . . Andrews is a superb comparativist, and in his hands, the story of a small black population in a small country--far from being a curiosity or mere footnote to Afro-Latin American history--sheds new light on the specificity and contingency of patterns of racial formation and mobilization across the region.”--The Americas

β€œIt is striking how seamlessly Andrews integrates diverse sources into this fascinating history.”--Hispanic American Historical Review

"This new book written by Reid Andrews, a master historian at the height of his form, is destined to become the standard work on its topic, just as his study, The Afro-Argentines of Buenos Aires, 1800-1900 has been for an entire generation."--John Charles Chasteen, author of Americanos: Latin America's Struggle for Independence