Archivo Nacional Victoria Santa Cruz
Peru -
June 23, 2020

Victoria Santa Cruz: unknown images ot the voice of the Afro-Peruvian woman

When Victoria Santa Cruz was five years old, she was the only black girl at her neighborhood in Lima. Her friends were mestizo and she did not know that the differences between them were much more than chromatic. Until one day a white family moved next to her home. When the girls went out to play, the only white girl in the group said:

-If this black girl plays, I’m leaving.

That afternoon Victoria Santa Cruz discovered what it meant to be black. Years later, that day’s sadness inspired the poem “Me gritaron negra” (They yelled at me black). 

Victoria Santa Cruz Gamarra was born in Lima in 1922 and died in that same city 92 years later. Her career as a composer, compiler, researcher, designer and choreographer made her the most influential representative of Afro-Peruvian culture inside and outside the country. 

The photos of the Victoria Santa Cruz Family Archive that are part of Africamericanos are the testimony of that intense life, which took place between her native Peru, Europe and the United States, and which made her the voice of Afro-Peruvian art. 

“Me gritaron negra” (They yelled at me black).

Victoria Santa Cruz in Paris, 1962.

Rehearsal of the National Folklore Ensemble, 1974.

Essay of “They Yelled at Me Black”, Lima 1974.

Victoria Santa Cruz with members of Eugenio Barba’s group, 1974.

Victoria Santa Cruz at the National Theater, Lima 1982.