National Caribbean American Month

May 26th, 2021

June marks the celebration of National Caribbean American Month. In 2006, the current president of the United States of America at the time, George Washington Bush, declared June as the month to recognize the significant contributions of Caribbean-Americans to the United States such as more diversity and a broader landscape of American culture. The residents of Caribbean U.S. territories as well as Caribbean American immigrants have long served the country, made great contributions to their communities, and faced many challenges. Some examples of people like that include Alexander Hamilton, Jennifer Carroll, and W.E.B. Dub Bois. Take this month and use it as an opportunity to celebrate the history, heritage, and traditions of Caribbean-Americans. Below are some interesting facts that pertain to this celebration:

  • Famous people from history with Caribbean descent include Secretary of State Colin Powell, Cicely Tyson, James Weldon Johnson, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier.
  • There were 13.2 million Caribbean-American’s in the United States as of 2018, and some of the largest Caribbean ancestry groups include:
    • 5.8 million Puerto Ricans
    • 2.4 million Cubans
    • 2.0 million Dominicanos
    • 1.1 million Jamaicans
    • 1 million Haitians
    • 208,000 Trinidadians and Tobagonians
    • 68,000 Bajans
    • 63,000 Belizeans
    • 54,000 Bahamians
    • 19,000 U.S. Virgin Islanders
  • Reggae originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s, and it was widely viewed as a voice of the oppressed. This form of music is based on ska and it is a heavy four-beat rhythm that is driven by drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, and the scraper. At least once a month there is a reggae festival somewhere on the tropical island of Jamaica. Jamaica is also home to Reggae Sumfest, which is a week-long fest in Montego Bay, and it is known as the greatest Reggae show on Earth. 
  • In the Dominican Republic, there is a month-long celebration in February that is filled with loud music, colorful outfits, and stunning parades. In addition to this, everyone takes part in dancing in the streets. It is such a fun celebration!
  • Panamanians celebrate Flag day, their liberation from Spain, and the country’s sovereignty in November. These celebrations are huge parties that include parades, dancing, and people dressing in the traditional clothing of polleras and montunos.
  • In Costa Rica, there is a celebration known as Día de las Culturas, which is a celebration of the day that Columbus set out to discover the Americas. They celebrate by dancing, singing, and dressing in colorful clothing that represents the merging of different cultures. If you visit the province of Limón during this day, you will find the streets lined with dancing, marching bands, food, and loud music!
  • The Caribbean region is made up of four main island groups that consist of the Greater Antilles, Leeward Islands, Leeward Antilles, and the Windward Islands. 
  • Out of the Caribbean region, only approximately 2% of it is inhabited. 
  • There are six main languages that are spoken in the Caribbean region, and these include English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Papiamento, and Haitian.
  • Tourism represents about 14.9% of the region’s GDP.
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