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Salgado, Marta

Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro–Latin American Biography
Juan NavarreteJuan Navarrete, Celia CussenCelia Cussen

Salgado, Marta (1947– ), social activist and researcher of Afro-Chilean culture, 

was born in Arica, Chile, on 23 March 1947 to parents of African descent. Her education includes a professional degree as a preschool teacher from the Universidad de Chile, a degree in public administration from the Universidad de Tarapacá, and postgraduate certificates from the Universidad de Chile in areas such as community organization and gender, planning, and development. Salgado has spent her entire career teaching in state universities in the region of Arica-Parinacota.

As an activist, she founded the Women’s Movement of the North, which sweeps from Arica to Calama in northern Chile. Working through this organization, Salgado fought successfully for the creation of the Servicio Nacional de la Mujer (National Women’s Service, or SERNAM), and she has promoted issues of special interest to women, such as domestic violence and divorce, with the result that some of her proposals have been included in recent legislation. One of several founders of the workers’ union at the Universidad de Tarapacá, Salgado was also its president for four terms, and she later formed and led the Federación de Trabajadores de las Universidades Estatales del Norte (Federation of State University Employees of the North). Salgado won a seat on the consulting committee of Chile’s Consejo de la Cultura y las Artes (Advisory Panel on Culture and the Arts) from 2004 to 2008, representing the Afro-Chilean community. Between 1994 and 2000, she also actively participated in the twenty-four commissions created by the government of Arica for the purpose of creating the administrative region of Arica-Parinacota.

Salgado founded and became the president of Oro Negro, a nongovernmental organization devoted to the development and recognition of Chileans of African descent, and up until 2009 she also coordinated the organization’s folklore group. This work led her to form contacts with Afro organizations throughout the world, and Salgado has represented Oro Negro in congresses and meetings in many countries of Latin America as well as South Africa. She contributed a chapter on the Afro legacy in Chile to the 2010 book Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablando de sus pueblos y sus historias, edited by Sheila Walker. Salgado is also the author Afrochilenos: Una historia oculta, published in June 2013. Around this time, Salgado joined forces with the leaders of other Afro-Chilean organizations, such as Cristian Báez of Lumbanga, to urge the regional government to fulfill its 2011 commitment to conduct a statistical study of the African-descended population in Arica.

[See also Báez, Cristian.]


Salgado, Marta. Afrochilenos: Una historia oculta. Arica, Chile: Herco Editores, 2013.Find this resource:

    Salgado, Marta. “Legado Afro en Chile.” In Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y sus historias, edited by Sheila Walker, pp. 223–270. Las Paz, Bolivia: Programa de Investigación Estratégica en Bolivia, 2010.Find this resource:

      Juan Navarrete

      Translated from the Spanish by Celia Cussen