Black History Month

Abolition of Slavery in Mexico

As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to remember the presence of Afro-Mexicans in the Americas. Here are 4 facts to know:

1. Afro-Mexicans are descendants of Sub-Saharan Africans kidnapped and brought to Mexico (New Spain) via the Mexican Gulf by the Spanish invaders in the 1500s. Over the centuries, they mixed with indigenous people and Europeans becoming “mulattos,” and in some cases “mestizos.”

2. Slavery was abolished in Mexico in 1829, a few decades before the US President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation.

2. Yanga is a town in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, named after Prince Yanga, a maroon (brown) legendary figure known for resisting the Spaniards in the 1600s. A statue of “El Yanga” welcomes visitors in the town’s plaza. This place is a tourist “must,” for its historic value.

3. The major concentrations of Afro-Mexicans are in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. The town with the largest Afro-Mexican population is Cuajinicuilapa, Costa Chica, and Guerrero.

4. Through migration, a number of Afro-Mexicans live in the United States. Along with Dominicans, Cubans, and other immigrants from Latin America, they are categorized as Afro-Latinos. The Pew Research Center indicates that approximately 6 million adults living in the United States identify as Afro-Latinos.

Last, being brown or having dark skin in Mexico was a disadvantage for centuries. People with light skin and European features were considered more beautiful, classy, and intelligent. The perception continues but slightly in lesser terms, because of the increase in global awareness about how simpleminded that thinking is and how skin color unjustly impacts the way people are treated.

The hope is that the tools of this information era, such as social media and other digital platforms, as well as academic and other instruction, will help spread equality and equity messages, and the simple truth that human beings are intrinsically the same.

-Lupita Franco Peimbert

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