About the Book
The topic of this book may seem unusual to some since there may be those who believe that Puerto Rican women may not have entered the jazz milieu during its early history. Nevertheless, an aim of the book is to dispel this and other false generalizations. The contents of this volume documents how Puerto Rican women were not only present in early jazz but how they played trailblazing and innovative roles and contributed to the emergence of the genre in the States and abroad. This work presents information that is confirmable through a variety of sources.
The book may not be the definitive work on the subject but serves as a starting point to:
- document the success and achievement of several Puerto Rican women from the jazz age
- consider the different strategies used for success in jazz and film by women
- illustrate the evolution of various careers
- consider the different personal circumstances under which success was achieved
- consider how women in contemporary jazz and film can learn from their predecessors
- provide women: older, young, and youthful, examples of success with documentary evidence on how to achieve Book Organization
The book is organized into sections that cover a brief history of significant Puerto Rican women in music and the performing arts followed by biographical descriptions of pioneering women in jazz and film. Throughout the text there is commentary on the situations facing women, especially, male chauvinism, colonialism, racism, and anti-women prejudice in jazz.
Every effort was made to include only facts that are easily confirmable. Unsupported tales or questionable events are avoided to ensure that the material contained in the volume can be used for teaching purposes and for curriculum development when credit is given to this work. In the process of developing the central theme of this volume, special effort was made to document those experiences where Puerto Rican women collaborate with members of the African American community to confirm how the cross-cultural collaboration resulted beneficial to both ethnic peoples.
The book details the many instances where members of the African American community assisted the fledgling Puerto Rican artists achieve success and stardom. Figures such as Helen Elise Smith, David J. Martin, Will Marion Cook, Ada 'Bricktop' Smith, Dr. Laurence Clifton Jones, and other distinguished African Americans are described.
Author: Basilio Serrano, Prof. Emeritus of SUNY College at Old Westbury
Commentator: Tomas Peña, Editor-in-Chief, Jazzdelapena.com; Journalist and Contributor
About the Author
Basilio Serrano was born in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico. He moved to Brooklyn, New York as a child, where he began attending school and subsequently relocated to the Lower East Side of Manhattan with his family (where he spent most of his youth). He attended City College (CCNY – City University of New York) where he completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and went on to receive a PhD from New York University. Dr. Serrano is a professor emeritus and former chair of the Childhood Education Department of the State University of New York – College at Old Westbury.
In addition to educating teachers, Professor Serrano has served as a curriculum writer specializing in Latin American Studies (LAS). His extensive work in the LAS field has led him to research many facets of the Latin American experience in the United States, in particular, the Puerto Rican Diaspora and the Boricuas’ wide range of experiences in the States.
In recent years, Dr. Serrano has conducted in-depth investigations into the role of the Puerto Rican in the development of popular music and jazz. The result of this research has been documented in his seminal book on Juan Tizol, and an assortment of other related articles and writings. Moreover, he has written articles on the history of the Puerto Rican community in the United States as well as biographical essays on musicians in the world of jazz. His publications appear in academic journals and magazines published in the United States and Puerto Rico.
About the Commentator
Tomas Peña will serve as commentator for this event. Tomas is Editor-in-Chief, journalist, and contributing writer at Jazzdelapena.com. A graduate of Empire State College with a dual major in journalism and Latin American studies, Tomas has spent years applying his knowledge and writing skills to the promotion of great musicians. A specialist in the crossroads between jazz and Latin music, Peña has written extensively on the subject. His writing appears on the Latin Jazz Network; Chamber Music America magazine and numerous other publications.
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Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program and Engagement through Education
Centro is the primary academic institute producing research on the conditions of stateside Puerto Ricans, preserving their heritage by maintaining a library and archives. Centro education programs focus on the development of curriculum and educational materials, such as videos, posters, and teaching guides, which disseminate and promote the use of historical and cultural heritage content for colleges, middle and high schools, and the general public. These tools help teachers and students learn about Centro’s vast archival collections and promote Puerto Rican studies. Our web-based open courseware, videoconferences, and other pedagogical resources provide the necessary supports for classroom success.
Centro’s Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program is a free, self-paced, multimedia online course in Puerto Rican history, culture, and traditions, with a focus on the migration experience of the stateside diaspora. The goal of the program is to inspire the next generation of Puerto Rican leaders to become a driving force of change for themselves and their communities. The program engages youth and educational institutions in promoting the teaching and learning of our heritage. Participants not only gain knowledge but also develop leadership, research, and presentation skills.
After enrolling online, participants complete a number of assignments that include viewing the Pioneers/Pioneros Documentary Series; complete reading assignments on Puerto Rican history, culture, and traditions; and learn key dates and historical events that have shaped the diasporic experience. At the end of each lesson, participants are required to complete and pass a short quiz. Upon successful completion of all required lessons, the participant receives a certificate of completion and designation as a Cultural Ambassador.
Beginning March 2018, participants who have completed the course will be eligible to enroll in the next series of lessons. In this series, participants will learn how to access and use our teaching guides, educational and curriculum tools, archival collections, and other library resources.
We are proud that the Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassadors Program has been incorporated in history courses in schools, colleges and libraries.
We encourage all educators to include this web-based open courseware in their curriculums.
Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Bootcamp
Centro will sponsor a one- day Cultural Ambassador Bootcamp with schools and other partners that would like to offer an intensive tutorial to review all components of the course.
Participants are required to complete the online course and then be prepared to demonstrate mastery at the Bootcamp. Facilitators modeled presentation and engagement techniques that participants could replicate with their peers.
Participants that complete both the online and the on-site components are awarded a Puerto Rican Heritage Cultural Ambassador Certificate.
Puerto Rican Heritage Teaching Toolkit
Pioneers/Pioneros: Documentary Series featuring Pura Belpré: Storyteller, A Revolt through Letters: Clemente Soto Vélez, the Legacy of Frank Bonilla, and Plena is Song; Plena is work. The documentaries tell the stories of important pioneers of the Puerto Rican diaspora. Each documentary has an accompanying teaching guide available online.
History of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. (Open courseware)
Open courseware makes core teaching materials available online. Our online course Teaching U.S. Puerto Rican History includes a comprehensive overview of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States, incorporating the most recent scholarship on the subject.
Puerto Rican Heritage Poster Series
Our poster series documents the history of Puerto Rican migration and the experiences and contributions of Puerto Ricans to U.S. society. The seven posters provide an attractive visual educational tool for teachers, professionals, and anyone interested in the great history of Puerto Rico. These posters are complementary to the courseware.
Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Brief Chronology
This booklet, based on the poster series described above, provides a complementary educational tool for teachers and others to use in the classroom or community settings, and to introduce students to major events, themes and concepts that are important to understand Puerto Rican history. The chronology also accompanies the courseware.
For more information on becoming a Cultural Ambassador please fill out the form below or email [email protected]