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Marty Offline OP
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"The African Presence in Mexico"

a photo exhibition at the Mexican Embassy

Belmopan, Belize, 7 February 2012.- The Mexican Embassy invites the public to the photo exhibition "The African Presence in Mexico" by Professor Ron Wilkins, which will be inaugurated on February 13th at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City.

The aim is to make a contribution to the "Black History Month" in Belize.

Professor Ron Wilkins is a retired professor of Africana Studies at the California State University, Dominguez Hills, and professional photographer presently residing in Belize. He has an extensive academic research on the presence of people of African descent in Mexico and is the author of academic papers, including "Mexico Welcomed Fugitive Slaves and African-American Job-Seekers: New Perspectives on the Immigration Debate".

The exhibition contains more than 25 pictures taken in the Costa Chica -in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast- and the Gulf of Mexico regions, both in Mexico. His works have been exhibited at universities, public schools, community centers and galleries throughout the United States. Some of them were also included in the Chicago Museum of Mexican Art's exhibition "The African Presence in Mexico", which toured the U.S. and Mexico several years ago.

The opening ceremony will be held on Monday, February 13th, at 6:30 pm at the Institute of Mexico in Belize which is located at the corner of Newtown Barracks and Wilson Street in Belize City. Entrance is free and open to the general public.

The presentation is sponsored by the Mexican Embassy in conjunction with "Teachers Learning Together", a business cooperative for educators in Belize. It will remain open until March 2nd, 2012, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

For more information, please contact the Institute of Mexico in Belize at 223-1408 or write to [email protected].

Visit the Mexican Embassy's website:

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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US Professor Traces Mexico's African Roots

Belize has close ties with Mexico - but what you might not know is that Belizeans of African descent may have ties with Afro-Mexicans.

But, if your only exposure to Mexico is the Quintana Roo District you might not even know that there are Mexicans of African descent - plenty of them in Pacific coastal areas such as Costa Chica.

Now, as a part of black history month, a US professor who lives in Belize is trying to school Belizeans to the commonality of our ancestry.

He's holding a show at the Institute of Mexico in Belize City and told us about the show and its lessons:..

Professor Ron Wilkins, Curator, African Presence in Mexico
"My thrust, because it is black history month, is to make the Belizean community more aware of the African presence in Mexico. African people have a very long history in Mexico, have made enormous contributions there, and are continuing to struggle to this day."

"By putting these images up, it gives people in this community and this country an opportunity to see Afro- Mexicans, and hopefully even feel a sense of connection to those Africans, here in Belize. And so it is interesting today that many people refer to people of Mexico as Hispanics. And I often say that in the first place, the people in Mexico are not 'His' wherever he happens to be, and secondly, since there were never more Spaniards in Mexico than there were African people if anything, would call a Mexican a 'His-African' since there is that third root 'la tercera raiz', what's known as the African component."

Jules Vasquez
"How did persons of African extraction end up in Mexico?"

Professor Ron Wilkins
"There was slavery over a 3 century period from 1521 to roughly about 1821. The estimates are that 200,000 to 500,000 Africans were brought in in chains, but there is no accurate count in terms of how many. Let me also add that black Mexicans played an enormous role in Mexico's struggle for independence. Even though this is not my photograph, this is a rare painting of one of Mexico's leaders. This is Jos� Morelos who was a general during the struggle for independence, and after father Idalgo who originally called on Mexico's population to rise up and overthrow Spanish rule was captured and killed, it was Jos� Morelos who led the main army for the next 5 years. The army was referred to as 'Ejercito Moreno' of the dark army because most of the soldiers were African or 'mulatto,' as we are referred to."

"This is a rare painting of Vicente Ramón Guerrero, who became Mexico's second president. He is the one known as the consummator of independence, the one who dealt the final blow. And it is he that finally negotiated the independence of the country. He had the last army in the field one year before independence in 1821. He was assassinated, by the way, on February 14th, of 1831."

"And hopefully when people come and see these images of people how resemble people in their own families here in Belize they will be motivated to developed more friendship across the border with Mexico with our people."

The opening ceremony will be held on Monday, and the exhibit will remain open until March 2nd, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Channel 7

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