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Monday, February 20, 2017

The Indigenous and Black Roots of Mexico

by Roberto Rodriguez

A generation ago, while living in Mexico, I came upon the works of Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran regarding the African presence in Mexico, managing to interview him, shortly before he passed away. While Mexico is a nation with deep Indigenous roots, his work from the 1940s revealed a part of Mexico that had been previously unfamiliar to its school children and to the national narrative; its rich multi-racial history.
This is especially true when we examine the relationship in this country between Black and Brown peoples, who are often, not taught their shared histories, or even their own histories. One part of that history also includes Mexico, which had abolished slavery in 1829, providing refuge to Blacks during the time of U.S. slavery. It also includes the history of palenques or maroons — free territories of runaway slaves, such as the one established by Gaspar Yanga in 1529, in the mountains of Veracruz, considered Mexico’s first free (Black) city. In the United States, it also includes both peoples fighting against lynchings during the 19th and 20th centuries and Blacks being at the forefront of the desegregation and anti-discrimination struggles, with all people of color benefiting, including Mexicans, who waged their own struggles. For rest of column, go to:

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