Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mexico's “Dark” Secret


Black Mexicans

I was on a local bus when I stepped passed a group of Mexican-American high school students conversing in Spanish. I politely said, “con permiso (excuse me)” as I passed, and they fell out laughing; not believing their ears; a black man (a pinche mayate) speaking to them in Spanish. When I snapped in annoyance, “¿qué es chistoso? (what the hell is so funny? They became very quiet, but kept their eyes on me in disbelief.

Vicente Guerrero, son of an African slave mother and a Mestizo father grew up to be Mexico's liberator before becoming Mexico's president and abolishing slavery.

Months later, a similar incident happened on that same bus line when I offered my seat to a woman engaged in a Spanish-speaking conversation. Again, the same reaction; loud, boisterous laughter. They too could not believe their ears; a black man speaking to them in Spanish. Irritated, I began to lecture them (in Spanish) on people of African heritage throughout Latin America who, unlike I, speak Spanish as a first language. I later learned that they too are Mexican-Americans.


Gasar Yanga, who's statue today stands outside the town of Yanga, Vera Cruz, México was assisted by another Black Mexican, Francisco de la Matosa, in establishing the first free black town in the western world after conducting guerrilla warfare against the Spanish.


I've even met Mexican nationals who are totally oblivious to black heritage in their own country. Historian Ted Vincent calls it racial amnesia. A married couple who were in my office from Mexico's Port of Vera Cruz were utterly astonished when I told them about African slave trade and slave revolts in their home state during the 14th and 15th centuries. 

The late professor of anthropology at the University of Veracruz in México, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, wrote in his book, “La Poblacion Negra de México (The Black Population of México)” that more than 500,000 African slaves were brought into México between 1523 and 1810, the year of México's independence.


After more than 400 years of interracial marriages, the black presence in México is not nearly as noticeable as those of Cuba, Colombia, or even Perú. Many Mexicans have been known to stubbornly deny any existence of African blood in their own family tree, let alone in the Mexican population at large. 

Yet, according to research done by Stanford University's cultural anthropologist Bobby Vaughn, the black population in México was up to three times as large as that of the Spanish during colonial times. The Schomburg Center for Research & Black Culture states that 75% of Mexican people have African strains in their bloodlines.


  1. very interesting note well, on the other hand, i hppen tohave a lot of black friends and i happen to mention the story of Yanga nd Fco de la matosa histoy and de are in disbelief.. as

  2. Very true, Aramando. I've given speeches on black Mexico and people white and black have found this information enlightening.

  3. You ran into this in the States? These racist cowards do it here in Mexico, but never to me in the States! They were always the false obsequious perverts who hide their true evil hearts!

  4. Hello I'm a Mexican American living in nor Cali nex to Oakland anyways my father side of the family have black roots I see it in my dads hair and my uncles and aunties my father has real nappy hair and my gran a is light skin so I have my uncle who has a fro but light skin what I'm trying to say is a lot of ppl dont no abOut this my granpa educated us well it all depends my brother is dark with curly hair even the nose I
    Proud to say a have native blood aswell as my African blood. A lot of ppl Are proud if they new see here in Cali Afro American say we wish we had Afro blood and say we are crazy and now I been in Oakland my lady family lives there and I seen so many Afro American beat up lower class Latino for money or car is not hate Aginst there color is the action ppl make and it sucks we need to educate ppl on this not only Latino americAns but Afro American I hope and I have a lot of hope because I no Latinos are not saints

  5. Nico,
    I'm always sorry to hear about the conflicts between African-Americans and Mexicans, and it's even worse in Southern California. Unfortunately, every community and ethnic group has its share of ignorant people. My blog is only a humble attempt to make people aware.

  6. I noticed the picture of Jorge Zamora(Zamorita) but I wasn't sure if he was from Cuba, Dominican Republic, or Panama and had immigrated to Mexico where his career(singing and acting) has been for many years. The only Black Mexican singer/actor that I was aware of was Johnny Laboriel whose father was a Black Honduran who immigrated to and settled in Mexico. And the other Afro-Latino actors that immigrated to and have or currently act in Mexico are/were the late Rene Munoz(Cuba) and Edgardo Eliezer(Panama). It's strange but interesting about this portion of Mexico's and the rest of Latin America's history.

    1. You make some very good points here. Thank you. Have you heard of the born Afro-Mexican singer from Vera Cruz La Toña Negra?

    2. No, I haven't. Two other Black Mexicans that are singers or actors that I forgot to mention in the last post were Kalimba and Christian Stanley.

  7. vary good stuff, lets just keep the love and spred if as peacful as we can cuz ppl now an days do not want to hear it. so let us all be strong brothers an sisters and to you Bill S. thanks for not being a negative person towrds this whole thing. our ppl been thru so mmuch and needed one an other to over come the bloody sights we have seen. i beleave it is time for us to spred words to all colerd ppl even to Blacks n Mexicans ...much Amor to all the RAZA out there all ppl!!! F the NWO!!! we need each other in this fight let us not be pupets! but leaders in this FIGHT!

  8. I belong to a very mixed Mexican family and some of my cousins have very defined black features. It is believed that my paternal grandmother was black or had black ancestry and her old pictures seem to confirm that. We have been able to research my grandfather's genealogy buy everything about my grandmother seems to have been lost. Anyway, if all the Mexican people with black ancestry knew about their origins they might be able to bring up our third root to public awareness in order for it to get the respect and honor it deserves.


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