Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Black Man's Guide to Mexican Independence—September 16

 Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña
Mexico's Liberator and First Black President

If I were vacationing in Mexico today while people are celebrating Mexican Independence, I'd be celebrating this son of an African slave mother and a Mestizo father who guided Mexico to her independence on this day of September 16 in the year of 1810. His name is Vicente Guerrero.

He was not very well educated, formally, but he was very intelligent and extremely tough. Before Mexico went to war with Spain to fight for their independence, Vicente Guerrero earned his living as a mule driver. When war broke out, he joined the revolution,  distinguished himself in major battles, and gained rank rapidly until he finally was awarded the rank of general.

As a general, he took a rag-tag gang of men and built them into a powerful brigade of over 1000 soldiers. Of all the major rebel leaders who died or were captured, or accepted the King of Spain's pardon, Vicente Guerrero was the only rebel leader still at large, and at Midnight, September 16, he declared Mexico free from Spanish rule.

In the year 1829, Vicente Guerrero became Mexico's first Black President. That same year, he abolished slavery in Mexico, which at that time, included what is now known as the state of Texas. Guerrero's abolition of slavery in Texas was one of the major reasons why Texas rebelled, became a lone-star state, and later joined the U.S.A.

As president, Vicente Guerrero was treated far worse than Barack Obama. Guerrero's term in office did not last six months before he was thrown out of office and later killed over some trumped up charges.

I am always amazed when I meet people in U.S. who come from Mexico's state of Guerrero, named after Vicente Guerrero, and are clueless as to who this man was and what he contributed to Mexico. I would venture to say, half of those marching, waiving Mexican flags, singing songs in commemoration Mexican independence  know little or nothing of Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña; a black man who guided Mexico to independence.

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