Exhibit on President Vicente Guerrero and Afro-Mexicans Opens at Chrysler World Headquarters in USA

chrysler-logo-710x532An educational exhibit about the history, culture and contributions of Afro-Mexican President Vicente Guerrero and other Afro-Mexicans in the State of Guerrero opened on September 30, 2013 at Chrysler World Headquarters, 1000 Chrysler Drive, Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The exhibit will be on display for three (3) weeks as part of a state-wide tour of universities, schools, libraries and businesses in Michigan.

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Entitled, “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas,” this educational exhibit and  website, www.FreedomPathways.org, were organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc. in Southfield, Michigan and funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, the MGM Grand-Detroit Hotel and others.  Since premiering in November 2012, the exhibit and website have been viewed by over 30,000 persons.

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The “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” exhibit will be on display at Chrysler World Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA during October.  Photo: Bobgray2011.com

This international educational project is the result of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s annual “Education for Peace” Program with the United Nations.  Every year, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s Peace Committee, comprised of public officials and community volunteers, develops an educational program in conjunction with various UN initiatives. In 2011, the United Nations paid tribute to the contributions of Africans to the world.

In support of that UN effort, Professor Candaleria Donají Méndez Tello of Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Facultad de Turismo in Zihuatanejo, who represents her University on the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Peace Committee, launched the research for this educational project.  An expert in Afro-Mexican history, Professor Méndez Tello is co-founder of Mexico Negro, A.C. (Black Mexican Civic Association) that is a non-profit civil society created for the purpose of organizing the communities of African descent in Mexico.

Professor Méndez Tello and other members of the Peace Committee collaborated for two (2) years with universities, museums, libraries and civic groups in the states of Guerrero and Michigan to research and develop the educational exhibit and website about President Vicente Guerrero and other Afro-Mexicans in Guerrero.  The exhibit premiered in 2012 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, the world’s largest institution of its type, and now continues to tour the State of Michigan.     DONAJI 8

Professor Candaleria Donají Méndez Tello of Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero in Zihuatanejo led the research for this international exhibit and website.

Many people in Mexico and the world do not know that President Vicente Guerrero was of African and Indigenous decent. Historians refer to Vicente Guerrero as the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of Mexico, indicating this great man’s stature. He was a general commanding Mexico’s liberation army during much of its independence movement in the early 19th century and he helped to write Mexico’s Constitution.  He assumed his country’s presidency in 1829, and he abolished slavery under his administration – 36 years before slavery was abolished in the United States (1865) and before it was abolished in Canada (1833).

Many people also do not realize that there are substantial numbers of Black people in Mexico.  But, research shows that during colonial times, 1521 – 1821, Africans and Afro-mestizos (people of mixed African and European/or Indigenous heritage), outnumbered the Spanish by up to 3 to 1 in Mexico. 1 In Guerrero, there is a well-documented and sizable presence of Afro-Mexicans in the Costa Chica Region and throughout the state.  Africans were also brought to Zihuatanejo by the Spanish. 2   

“The Black roots of Mexico are not explained in school textbooks or in our universities, therefore, still today, many of my countrymen and people around the world don’t know the importance of it.  The Black presence in Mexico is manifested in music, dance, poetry, verses, oral tradition, gastronomy and more,” says Professor Méndez Tello.

Plans are currently underway to develop a similar exhibition in Zihuatanejo.  You can take a short tour of the exhibit by clicking on the video below:

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Chrysler Group’s product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dart, Ram 1500, SRT Viper and Fiat 500.  Chrysler de Mexico, located in Santa Fe, Mexico City, is the headquarters for all Chrysler operations in Mexico. Chrysler operates manufacturing facilities in Saltillo and Toluca and operates an engineering center in Santa Fe, Mexico City. Company Web Site: www.chryslergroupllc.com.  Twitter (Spanish): https://twitter.com/ChryslerEspanol

Reference Sources:

  1. Aguirre Beltrán, Gonzalo. La Población Negra De México: Estudio Etnohistórico. 3rd. ed, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán: Obra Antropológica. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989.
  2. www.FreedomPathways.org: Afro Mexicans in Guerrero: The Costa Chica Region

Related Articles:

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Launches Education for Peace Program with the United Nations for 2013

President Vicente Guerrero -A Mexican Hero

West Africans Influence Mexican Rice Cultivation and Gastronomy

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