Wednesday, March 23, 2011

“Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?”

“Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?”: A Cape Verdean American Story is the largely unknown story about immigrants from the Cape Verde Islands in the Fox Point neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island, the second oldest and largest Cape Verdean community in America.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS presents an encore broadcast on Saturday, March 26, at 7 p.m., as part of its ongoing series, Rhode Island Stories.

The one-hour documentary is by local filmmaker, Claire Andrade-Watkins. Dr. Andrade-Watkins is an Associate Professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College in Boston, MA, a 2010-2011 Visiting Scholar at Brown University in the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America(CSREA), Brown University and a 2010 Swearer Community Fellow. She is the director of the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project, which is currently based at CSREA at Brown University. The film combines her personal experiences with more than 20 years of research:

"Cape Verdeans began arriving in large numbers from the tiny archipelago off the coast of western Africa in the ports of Providence, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts in the early 1900s. They crossed the Atlantic aboard packets, small sailing ships to fill the need cheap labor in the waterfronts, textile mills, factories, and cranberry bogs of southeastern New England.
"Urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s destroyed the tight knit Cape Verdean community bound by family, kinship, language, and seafaring traditions and displaced three generations of Cape Verdeans and their rich culture. The story of this little known community of the African Diaspora addresses many universalities of history, immigration, race relations and urban renewal."*