Exhibit Honoring Afro-Mexicans in Costa Chica, Guerrero Opens in Michigan; Guerrero Delegation to Visit in January 2013

An exhibition entitled, “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas: Shared Experiences between Michigan, USA and Guerrero, México,” premiered last month at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan, the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.  The exhibit will be on display at the Wright Museum through March 2013, and then it will tour universities, schools, libraries and business groups throughout the state.

“Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” is an exhibition inspired by the chance meeting of two women who live in Zihuatanejo — Candelaria Donají Mendéz Tello, an Afro-Mexican originally from Cuajinicuilapa in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero, México and www.imagine-mexico.com editor, Patricia Ann Talley, an African American originally from Southfield, Michigan, USA. Through their friendship and discussions, they learned about the parallel histories of their ancestors who were brought to the Americas during colonial times. Together, they introduce the exhibition, which presents the mutually beneficial relationship between African Americans and Mexicans that is seldom discussed.  Click to obtain a brochure: Pathways to Freedom Brochure – English , RUTAS HACIA LA LIBERTAD- EXPERIENCIAS COMPARTIDAS ENTRE MICHIGAN Y GUERRERO

The exhibit is in English and Spanish, using video, maps, photographs, art, and music to depict a different aspect of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the story of fugitives from slavery in the United States taking the Underground Railroad south to Mexico, African heritage as it continues to permeate Mexican culture—especially in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero, the migration of Mexicans to Michigan and the culture as it has manifested in Southwest Detroit.

 Click to see a quick tour of the exhibit:

Visit the website for research articles, videos and photos, a bibliography and teacher’s resources:  www.FreedomPathways.org

The “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” project was developed by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc., Southfield, Michigan, USA, through its Education Committee. The project is an international effort through the partnership with Museo de Las Culturas Afromestizas in Cuajinicuilapa, Guerrero, Mexico and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan, USA.  The exhibit is made possible in part by a grant from Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Researchers and collaborators from Zihuatanejo include Professor Candelaria Donají Mendéz Tello from the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Unidad de Turismo de Zihuatanejo (Zihuatanejo’s Tourism University); Carlos Irra, Manager of Guest Relations at Club Intrawest, Zihuatanejo; Marco A. Gijón Rojas, General Manager, Holiday Inn, Ixtapa; Rosalba Vizcarro de Giors, Art Director-Mexico; Grace Relfe, Photography; William Tucker, Publisher of www.imagine-mexico.com; and Hugo M. Bretón Cervera from Mexico City, President of the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Mexico.

The Costa Chica Region has a high population of Mexicans of African descent.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force recognizes the significance of this part of history because Dr. King had a global view of peace that ties all people together in friendship and brotherhood.  MLK Task Force President Barbara Seldon stated, “This project tells the story of a significant part of African and Mexican history that needs to be recognized, researched and acknowledged. The rich African culture is alive and strong in Mexico in areas such as Costa Chica and Veracruz, but it has been ignored or forgotten.  Yet, the African culture had an impact throughout all of Mexico.  Lack of acknowledgement of one’s history makes it difficult to take pride in one’s heritage.”

Project Manager Barbara Talley stated, “This exhibit culminates over a year of research, building relationships, both in Michigan and in Guerrero, with universities, committee members, and volunteers.  The result of the work can be seen in the exhibit, its unique illustrations and photos, bilingual text, and graphics.  The educational aspect of the exhibit is beneficial to all who want to expand their knowledge of American and Mexican history and culture. It is hoped that by sharing this history of both countries, it will help to build better intercultural and international relations.”

The “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” exhibit and international research project is receiving international media attention from radio (WDET Radio News – Pathways to Freeedom exhibit) and press (Exhibit in Detroit explores African, Mexican experiences of freedom from slavery – theoaklandpress.com).

A delegation from Guerrero will visit several cities in the southeast Michigan area in January, including Detroit, Southfield and Ann Arbor.  The Mexican delegation will make educational presentations about the diverse cultures of Guerrero, including the Afro-Mexicans of Costa Chica and the Pre-Hispanic Archeological site in Zihuatanejo.  For more information about the exhibit or the Mexican delegation, contact: info@imagine-mexico.com




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