In honor of Women’s History Month, we recognize Miriam Esther Jiménez Román, who was a professor, editor, archivist, curator, social theorist, author, and activist.
Miriam was born on June 11, 1951, in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Her family migrated to Harlem, New York, in 1952.
Miriam graduated from Manhattan’s High School for Art and Design in 1969, where she studied illustration and advertising art and published profound short stories for Prism, the school yearbook. She attended the University of Vermont for two years, spent a year at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, and finished her sociology BA in 1974 at Binghamton University. In 1987, Miriam continued her education at Binghamton by completing the coursework for a sociology Ph.D.
Miriam published numerous fundamental works that critically challenged racial democracy, Taíno revivalism, blanqueamiento, and the US census. As a Black Puerto Rican, her experiences helped her to bring awareness of Afro-Latinidad and build coalitions with African Americans.
Miriam taught innovative courses on Afro-Latinidad at Binghamton, Brown University, Columbia University, and New York University from 1991 to 2013. In 2005, she co-founded and was executive director of the Afro-Latin@ Project, renamed the AfroLatin@ Forum in 2007. The forum hosted two significant international conferences, Afro-Latin@s Now! These forums integrated hundreds of artists, academics, and activists in 2011 and 2014.
Miriam’s critically acclaimed book The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States (Duke Univ. Press, 2010), co-edited with her husband, Juan Flores, won the 2011 American Book Award. In addition, she co-founded and edited Palgrave Macmillan’s Afro-Latin@ Diasporas book series and assisted with organizing the Black Latinas Know Collective in 2019. The purpose was to promote and mentor Afro-Latina scholars who study Blackness and Latinidad.
Miriam passed away on August 6th, 2020, and will always be remembered as an “invaluable mentor to generations of young academics, activists, and artists exploring the African diaspora in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States.”- BlackMuseums.org
“African Americans have always been in the vanguard. Everything that’s worthwhile in this country has come about because African Americans have pushed it. We all benefit every day, white people as well as people of color, from the struggles of African Americans.” - Miriam Esther Jiménez Román.
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