The Impact of African-Americans in Tuscany

Apr 29, 2019 174

BY: Caroline Lupetini

The impact of African Americans in Italy is everywhere. As a student in Bologna, I’ve seen Americans and Italians bond on the basketball court over their shared admiration for Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald play in the background at your local café, and a live music night at a bar here is likely to feature Chuck Berry, Prince, or hip hop as much as any Italian or European artist.

The influence of African-Americans in Italy – particularly Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna – springs from deep roots, and is an integral part of the story U.S. Consulate General Florence is telling during its Insieme 200, or Together 200 Bicentennial Campaign. During the mid 19th-century, abolitionists were an active part of the American expatriate artist colony or community in Florence. Soon after the Civil War ended in 1865, Edmonia Lewis, a Boston-based African-American abolitionist and sculptor, came to Florence and collaborated with famous sculptors such as Hiram Powers (who was also a U.S. Consul) and Thomas Ball.

Read more


You may be interested