The Cape Verdean immigrant neighborhood of Fox Point in Providence, Rhode Island, was uprooted in the 1960s. But it seems that the Fox Point community survived.
Claire Andrade-Watkins, a Fox Point native who is a film-maker and professor at Emerson College in Boston, created an affecting, often personal documentary about Fox Point, called "Some Kind of Funny Porto Rican?" That was the description her fiance's brother used to describe Cape Verdeans, who had been immigrating to southeastern New England for more than a century. See her Web site here. She is at work on parts two and three of what she intends to be a trilogy of films.
I took note of her work to celebrate Cape Verdean culture in an article in the Sunday Globe on the impact of Cape Verdean diaspora in the homeland's extraordinary development in recent years.
Now, she is leading a group of Fox Point descendants who will take part in a procession through Fox Point to celebrate its rich history and show that the community's legacy still binds its people together, even if they are scattered around the region.
At 10 a.m. on May 9, the procession will mark the 75th anniversary of the St. Antonio Cape Verdean Association in Fox Point, Rhode Islandís first Cape Verdean Beneficent Society. Among the co-sponsors is the Fox Point Cape Verdean Project at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, where Andrade-Watkins is a visiting professor.
The invitation notes that St. Antonio was founded in 1934 "to provide health and death benefits to members and contributed to the social, cultural and spiritual needs of the second oldest Cape Verdean community in the United States, which was displaced from Fox Point in the l960s and l970s by urban renewal and gentrification."
Anyone wanting to learn more about Fox Point or any other aspect of the Cape Verdean community in New England should make sure to visit the Cape Verdean Museum Exhibit, located at 1003 Waterman Avenue in East Providence. Open afternoons on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the small but lovingly built collection takes visitors through the history of whaling, emigration and building new lives and communities in the United States. I wrote a short "sidebar" article on the Cape Verde museum along with my overall story.
UPDATE: And let me correct a mistake that readers have pointed out. Denise Oliveira is the founder of the museum, as well as its president. I incorrectly identified two other stalwarts of Cape Verdean culture, Yvonne Smart and Virginia Neves Gonsalves, as co-founders, and neglected to mention Denise in my mention of the museum. Sorry to have left out the founder-in-chief! All three of these very effective ambassadors for Cape Verde in the United States received me graciously at the East Providence museum.
Also, a very useful Web site about all things Cape Verdean is www.forcv.com with a wealth of news and cultural information, much of it in English, about the Cape Verdean diaspora and the homeland.
About this blog
About James F. SmithJim Smith came home to his native Boston in 2002 to become the Boston Globe's foreign editor after spending 22 years abroad. He was previously based in Buenos Aires and Mexico City for the LA Times, and in Johannesburg, Tokyo and The Hague for the AP. In 2007 he became the Globe's national political editor, coordinating presidential campaign coverage. He is a Yale graduate, and has an MBA. He is married to Maxine Hart and has two sons, Matthew and Daniel.
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