SOUTH FLORIDA – A newly released book, Caribbean American Heritage: A History of High Achievers highlights the Caribbean American contribution to America.
For the first time between the covers of one book, authors Elliot Bastien and Sandra Bernard-Bastien have compiled short biographies of over 300 individuals (with roots in 25 Caribbean countries) who have made major contributions to the development of the United States.
Caribbean American Heritage: A History of High Achievers contains almost 400 pictures of individuals, historical buildings and other iconic attractions.
The prize-winning authors, both Caribbean Americans, have several published books to their name.
This, their latest book is a collector’s item, which utilizes short sound bites, making it ideal for communicating effectively with both adults and children. It is informative, and its pictures make it attractive to the eye, a combination that ensures it will reach substantial audiences.
With a foreword written by the President of Howard University, the distinguished oncologist Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, who is one of the high achievers featured in the book, the compilation is aptly named Caribbean American Heritage: A History of High Achievers.
And the book is a veritable history of the US from a founding father, Alexander Hamilton (immortalized on the 10-dollar bill), all the way up to the present with Senator-elect Kamala Harris, the first Caribbean American to be elected to the US Senate in 100 years.
By defining the Caribbean for the purposes of the book, and by tracing the pattern of migration from that region, the early chapters of the book lay the groundwork for what is to follow.
The book’s website tells us that “It is an ideal reference book because it tells of Caribbean American achievements across a broad range of areas – from a Secretary of State to a Speaker of the House, from political activists to US senators, from inventors to sporting heroes, from Academy Award winners to Nobel Prize winners, and from prize-winning journalists to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.”
But although this publication describes the amazing journey of Caribbean immigrants, and their descendants, across the pages of American history, its tone is not that of a history book. The language is not academic, as the authors did not want to write a history book, “because history books are academic treatises, mostly read by those who have to answer questions in an examination room.”
This easy-to-read book about Caribbean Americans virtually chronicles the development of the United States of America, because Caribbean Americans were major participants at every defining moment in the nation’s history
It is no surprise that the larger immigrant populations have the larger representation of high achievers.
Caribbean American Heritage: A History of High Achievers contains bios of descendants from almost all the countries of the Caribbean, with heavy representation from Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago. Countries such as Antigua & Barbuda, Belize, Bermuda, Grenada, Panama, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, and the Virgin Islands are also well represented.
The front cover of the book is attractively designed with vivid colors of red, gold and orange.
Caribbean American Heritage: A History of High Achiever’s website describes it as “Beribboned in the distinctive red white and blue of the American flag, the laurel leaf of victory frames an embossed pattern of a Caribbean coconut palm, carried aloft by the iconic American eagle. This gold medal of achievement, prominent against a black background, establishes the central theme of the book, a compelling narrative of extraordinary achievements.”
This is an enormously important book, because while other immigrant groups have had their stories told in many different media, the Caribbean American story has not had the same exposure. So it is particularly important for young Caribbean Americans to know that they too have a history of which they can justly be proud. This would increase their self esteem and sense of worth, and hopefully encourage them to strive for the excellence that is portrayed between the book’s covers.
Every Caribbean American home should have a copy and it should grace the shelves of every public and school library in the United States.
Caribbean American Heritage: A History of High Achievers is published by Arrow Publications, LLC, Maryland.
Sandra Bernard-Bastien is Chief Communications Officer of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.
Elliot Bastien is a retired operational research executive/petroleum engineer.