Press Releases

April 12: Documentary on African Americans in Dominican Republic


PATERSON, NJ - On Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 6 pm, the Institute for Latino Studies andthe Common Roots Project will present “African American Settlement in the Dominican Republic,” an original documentary about 6,000 freed U.S. slaves who settled in Hispaniola and Samana in 1824.

The programs will be at the Paterson Library located at 250 Broadway Paterson, NJ 07501. Produced and directed by Nestor Montilla, Sr., the documentary depicts the saga of thousands of free African Americans who fled the UnitedStates in the first quarter of the 1800s in search for freedom and equal rights in Hispaniola, a Caribbean island shared today by the Republic of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The settlers had to show proof of their freedom in the US before boarding ships headed to Hispaniola.

Sign Up for E-News

“I am a fourth generation of the African Americans who settled in Samana in 1824,” said Martha Willmore, a Dominican of African American descent who is featured in the documentary. “They arrived in Samana in small groups with their families and belongings.”

“Almost two centuries have passed,” said Franklin Willmore, an African American descendant and member of the African Methodist Church. “We consider ourselves Dominicans.” The documentary highlights that, currently, over 80 percent of Samana’s population is of African American descent. It is estimated that there are over one half million Dominicans who are descendants of the African American settlers.

At present, there are still over 33 African American surnames in use in the Dominican Republic. “Dominicans are African Americans too,” said Nestor Montilla, Sr.P resident of the Common Roots Project. “Historically, African American settlers and their descendants have greatly contributed to the socio-economic and political development of the Dominican Republic. A noticeable contribution ignored by historians is that they fought for the independence of the Dominican Republic during the Restoration War.'' 

Fred Price, from Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York, will participate and share insights of his visits to Samana.

“This is an educational and cultural awareness program for our Paterson’s diverse communities,” said High school teacher and community leader Wilkin Santana, who partnered with the Institute for Latino Studies and the Common Roots Project to present the documentary in New Jersey.

Admission is free to the general public. For more information call at 973-345-3624 or visit or write to .

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza


Thu, July 26, 6:00 PM

Vreeland Ave. Park, Paterson

Occupy Vreeland Ave. Park

Arts & Entertainment Community Calendar


Tue, July 31, 11:00 AM

Paterson Courthouse Plaza, Paterson

Tuesdays in the Plaza

Readers Says Let Developer Bring Paterson Back

July 13, 2018

Dear Editor: 

It is no secret that Paterson is in dire need of revitalizing, restructuring, rebuilding, and, quite frankly, rebranding. As a city, we have struggled to pay our municipal debt, to reduce crime substantially, to create sustainable employment opportunities for our youth and to provide assistance for our city’s most vulnerable residents. 

Today, we face an uphill ...

Murphy Administration Takes Action to Help Smokers Quit

July 19, 2018

Eliminates Prior Approval for Medicaid Tobacco Cessation Medications; Counseling Options to be Expanded

July 16, 2018

(TRENTON) – The Murphy administration on Monday announced new steps to help New Jersey Medicaid recipients quit using tobacco by making it easier to receive tobacco cessation medications and counseling.

“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death ...

Pascrell, Renacci, Senators Celebrate House Approval of Congressional Gold Medal to Baseball Pioneer Larry Doby

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) hailed the passage in the House of Representatives of H.R. 1861, the Larry Doby Congressional Gold Medal Act. The legislation awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the late baseball star, Larry Doby, who broke the American League’s color barrier in 1947.

“A proud ...

Newark May Get a Boost From Investors with New Federal Program

July 22, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Newark could soon see a boost in long-term investments due to federal legislation that created certain tax exemptions for private investors.

In April, the federal treasury department approved low-income Opportunity Zones in 75 municipalities throughout New Jersey that were nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy. Thirteen of those zones are designated in Newark.

MORE: View a ...

Newark Lures Amazon With $1 Billion Payroll Tax Incentive

NEWARK, NJ - Amazon will get a payroll tax break at a cost of $1 billion to the city should the company open its second headquarters here.

It’s one of two ordinances that were approved by the Newark City Council council to sweeten the deal for the corporate giant and stand out among other locations vying for Amazon’s so-called HQ2.

“The City Council has brought Newark a ...

I'm Sorry Mr. Jackson... I Am For Real

July 8, 2018

Hello again, Paterson. 

So much has changed since the last time I’ve written… as I’d hoped, Andre Sayegh is our new mayor and it seems an exciting new dawn is upon us. I think when any change comes, especially one as major as this, there is an opportunity for reflection as well as for hope. This election taught me quite a bit, seeing some of the best and worst sides of ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale

July 18, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Belmar Parasail: Soar Into Summer with a High-Flying Adventure Along the Beachfront

BELMAR, NJ — As Belmar finally basks in picture-perfect weather, it may be time to check off a summer activity on your bucket list. And for many, parasailing is one of those “must-do” experiences.

At Belmar Parasail, the season is in full swing, offering boat trips from the Belmar Manutti Marina to the beachfront where passengers are lifted 500 feet above the Atlantic Ocean ...