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Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography

Editors in Chief: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. & Franklin W. Knight

Please see here for a list of entries already assigned to contributors, sorted by country.

In the spirit of the Dictionary of National Biography, the American National Biography, the African American National Biography, and the Dictionary of African Biography, all published by Oxford University Press, the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography will be a major biographical dictionary covering the lives and legacies of notable Afro-descendants from the Caribbean and Latin American, men and women from all eras and walks of life. This groundbreaking resource will provide unprecedented coverage of the region through the lives of its people.  A provisional list of entries is located here. Suggestions for additional entries are welcome and should be sent to dcalab@oup.com.


Biographical records on Afro-Latin American and Caribbean lives are in short supply. Even as new historical scholarship has invigorated the international study of Latin America and Atlantic history, and even as new departments of Latin American Studies have flourished, no large-scale biographical reference work devoted to black subjects in the region has ever been attempted. This is a surprise given the enormous influence the people of these areas have had on history, culture, and technological achievement. We know that well-designed reference materials are the lifeblood of academic inquiry, learning, and education, which is why this new reference work is so urgently needed.


The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (DCALAB) will be published in print with roughly two thousand in-depth historical biographies of Caribbeans and Latin Americans. The print work is only the first step in an ongoing research and publishing project, which will continue to grow online with theoretically no limit to the number of additional biographies commissioned. As a continuing publishing initiative, the DCALAB will provide the most wide-reaching source of information ever produced on the lives of Afro-descendants who have shaped Latin American history.  Entries will be written by leading scholars at research institutions from across the globe, linking together the international community of research.


Upholding the high editorial and academic standards of the AANB and the DAB, the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography entries will similarly range from 500 to 2,000 words and include bibliographic notes and citations. Extensive indexing will provide a quick resource for both pinpointing individuals and browsing categories. Indispensable as a research tool, the Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography will be a milestone in the study of the Caribbean and Latin America.