Black Saint of the Americas: The Life and Afterlife of Martín de Porres

Black Saint of the Americas: The Life and Afterlife of Martín de Porres

by Celia Cussen


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In May 1962, as the struggle for civil rights heated up in the United States and leaders of the Catholic Church prepared to meet for Vatican Council II, Pope John XXIII named the first black saint of the Americas, the Peruvian Martín de Porres (1579-1639), and designated him the patron of racial justice. The son of a Spanish father and a former slavewoman from Panamá, Martín served a lifetime as the barber and nurse at the great Dominican monastery in Lima. This book draws on visual representations of Martín and the testimony of his contemporaries to produce the first biography of this pious and industrious black man from the cosmopolitan capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. The book vividly chronicles the evolving interpretations of his legend and his miracles, and traces the centuries-long campaign to formally proclaim Martín de Porres a hero of universal Catholicism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107034372
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 10/13/2014
Series: Cambridge Latin American Studies , #99
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 5.91(w) x 9.09(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Celia Cussen is an Associate Professor of History at Universidad de Chile, where she has worked since 2004, and focuses on colonial Latin American history. She holds a BA from Stanford University, California and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Cussen is the editor of Huellas de Africa en América, Perspectivas para Chile (2009) and the author of articles in the Hispanic American Historical Review and the Colonial Latin American Historical Review. Her work has appeared in volumes edited in Peru, Chile, Italy and Argentina. She has been awarded fellowships and grants by the Du Bois Institute at Harvard University, the John Carter Brown Library, and the Chilean government's Fondo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Fondecyt).

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. The Life: 1. Race and family; 2. The convent and the colonial world; 3. Healing and faith; 4. Death and the heavenly transit; Part II. The Afterlife: 5. Creating a Vida from a life; 6. The miracles; 7. Images in black and white; 8. Sainthood; Conclusion; Appendixes; Bibliography; Endnotes.

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