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Feb 10, 2012

African influence in Mexico on Exhibit

The Mexican Embassy is launching an exhibition to celebrate Black History Month. Photographs by Professor Ron Wilkins will go on display at the Mexican Institute; they capture African influence in Mexico. Wilkins is a retired professor on Africana Studies at the California State University. His works have been exhibited at universities, schools and community centers in the US as well as in Mexico. He is now living in Belize. News Five Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

A retired professor of Africana Studies is sharing his knowledge in Belize through an exhibit entitled “The African Presence in Mexico”.  Professor Ron Wilkins says he has captured in photographs, a culture that many don’t even know exists… the Afro-Mexican.

Prof. Ron Wilkins, Historian/Professional Photographer

Ron Wilkins

“In my photos, they will see the daily life of afro Mexican which is very much like the daily life here in Belize. You’ll see children playing, they’ll see adults minding children, they’ll see persons participating in conferences, and they’ll see people participating in cultural festivals and what have and that sort of thing. I also brought a map of Mexico to show where the villages are that the concentration of the African population can be found. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the images because many people are unaware of black people living in Mexico. Many Mexicans living in Mexico have never seen black Mexicans. What you will see will be very different from what you may have seen in Cancun or Chetumal or some of these other areas.”

The images on display were captured during years of visits to villages along Mexico’s southern pacific coast.

Prof. Ron Wilkins

“The exhibit has roughly twenty-six or more images from Afro-Mexico from the Costa Chica region primarily. Costa Chica is roughly a four hundred mile strip along Mexico’s southern pacific coast. It runs from Acapulco to the south to Watuka. Within that area there are roughly fifty to sixty villages that have some black population and I’ve been to about eight or nine of those villages over the course of a number of years. I’ve also taken pictures on the golf side of Mexico in Veracruz in Yanga, a place called Yanga known for a great afro-Mexican.”

According to Professor Wilkins, he has compiled the images into an exhibit for the simple reason that a picture says a thousand words.

Prof. Ron Wilkins

“It’s one thing to be describing these events; even to stand in a classroom and describe it to students. But to put up images, seeing is believing and so when one sees it they say “oh, that’s how it is, that’s who they are”. And so African people, when they see these images and certainly this is part of what I’m putting out here in Belize, for Africans here in Belize to see members of the African family there in Mexico, they will notice resemblances to members of their own family and feel this sense of kinship and hopefully be spurred on to do further investigation to learn something more of the history of Afro-Mexicans which is an enormous history because we’ve made profound contributions to Mexico.”

And in the spirit of Black History Month, the professor could not help but give a history lesson on three Afro-Mexican heroes.

Prof. Ron Wilkins

“This is an image of Jose Morelos who was the general that commanded the main Mexican forces during the independence struggle, the fight against Spain for some five years. He was eventually captured and executed but under his command the soldiers fought under a black flag—Mexico’s first flag was black.  This is Vicente Ramon Guerrero, who became Mexico’s second president, who is known as the consummator of independence or the one that dealt the final blow. He’s the one that saw the eleven year struggle for independence through to the end and he’s the one in 1829 that issued a decree abolishing slavery in all the Mexican republic. And then this last one I wanna show is a photograph, a rare photograph of the general from the south, Emiliano Zapata, who fought one hundred years after the struggle for independence 1910-1921 in the Mexican revolution. This is General Zapata here and you can see his dark complexion.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The exhibit will be officially launched on Monday at the Institute of Mexico and remains open to the public until March second.

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3 Responses for “African influence in Mexico on Exhibit”

  1. JoBro says:

    Black History Month is a Racist Idea.
    There is NO White, Yellow, Red, or Albino History Month.
    Also Miss Black USA. There is no Miss White, Yellow, Red, or Albino USA. Black people feel inferior and therefore are racists.

  2. CEO says:

    JoBro your idea is correct if this was a perfect world but it is not! I am not sure what colour spectrum your origins go to but it sure sounds like to need to be enlightened.

    Anyone group that has suffered at the hands of another the facts should be marked by society as a reminder less it would be repeated. In addition this time serves as a reminder to the rest of the world the remarkable contributions that people of african origins have made to this world inspite of…The vast majority of this world was built by people of African descent.

    The Jews do the same thing for what the suffered at the hands of Hitler only that they do it daily and maintain the gruesome pictures for every Jewis child to learn from it.

    So if this is racism to you then your knowledge of these historical facts does not extend any further than you lip. You need to educate.

  3. Don Juan says:

    I agree with you CEO JoBro or Jo Blow really need to be educated!!!! Power to the People!!!

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