This volume examines the political, cultural, and social role of the population with African background in the shaping of national identity in various Latin American countries. Slavery survived well into the nineteenth century in countries such as Brazil and Cuba; first its existence and then the dismantling of the institution strongly affected the definition of citizenship in the emerging nation-states. However, not all blacks were slaves, and a significant number of slaves gained their freedom during periods of war and other central events in the process of state formation. In addition to their direct participation in struggles of national significance, blacks also wrote on social, political, and cultural issues. Their involvement in politics—in elections, civil wars and revolutions, and in office—as well as in religious activities, family institutions, and civil associations, is considered in terms of the broader significance to the forging of citizenship and national identity. Contributors include Carmen Bernand (University of Paris X), Jonathan Curry-Machado (London Metropolitan University), Lauren Derby (University of Chicago), David Geggus (University of Florida), Franklin W. Knight (Johns Hopkins University), and Jean Stubbs (London Metropolitan University).