The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

Posted in Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2016-04-15 01:38Z by Steven

The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire

W. W. Norton & Company
June 2016
368 pages
6.1 × 9.3 in
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-393-23925-6

Karl Jacoby, Professor of History
Columbia University, New York, New York

A prize-winning historian tells a new story of the black experience in America through the life of a mysterious entrepreneur.

A black child born in the twilight of slavery, William Henry Ellis inhabited a world of fraught, ambiguous racial categories on the anarchic border between the United States and Mexico. He adopted the name Guillermo Enrique Eliseo and passed as a Mexican: traveling as Hispanic in first-class train berths, staying in the finest hotels, and eating in leading restaurants. A shrewd businessman, he became fabulously wealthy and found himself involved in scandalous trials, unexpected disappearances, and diplomatic controversies. Constantly switching identities, Eliseo was a genius at identifying and exploiting the porousness of the color line and the border line.

Through Ellis’s picaresque biography, Karl Jacoby presents an intriguing narrative set in a secret and ever-changing world. The Strange Career of William Ellis reinterprets the borderlands, showing how U.S. and Mexican histories intertwined during Reconstruction, and he offers new insight into the arbitrary and evolving definitions of race in America.

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The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, Monographs on 2016-04-15 01:32Z by Steven

The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands

University of California Press
January 2017
188 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780520291638

Verónica Castillo-Muñoz, Assistant Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

The Other California is the story of working-class communities and how they constituted the racially and ethnically diverse social landscape of Baja California. Packed with new and transformative stories, the book examines the interplay of land reform and migratory labor on the peninsula from 1850 to 1954, as governments, foreign investors, and local communities shaped a vibrant and dynamic borderland alongside the booming cities of Tijuana, Mexicali, and Santa Rosalia. Migration and intermarriage between Mexican women and men from Asia, Europe, and the United States transformed Baja California into a multicultural society. Mixed-race families extended across national borders, forging new local communities, labor relations, and border politics.

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Sacramento’s Mexican genealogists trace their roots to Aztec empire

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2016-04-12 01:29Z by Steven

Sacramento’s Mexican genealogists trace their roots to Aztec empire

The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, California
2016-04-10

Stephen Magagnini

Highlights

  • Mexican Americans use Catholic Church records, other documents to map family roots
  • Some trace family history to Aztecs, colonial Mexico
  • Interest in Mexican family histories is growing as Latinos become biggest group in California

Maria Cortez dug deep into Catholic Church records and family histories and struck gold.

The retired state-worker-turned-genealogist managed to trace her roots back to two of the most famous figures in Mexican history: Miguel Hidalgo, who declared independence from Spain in 1810 with “el grito de Dolores,” and the Aztec emperor Moctezuma II. “You’d be amazed; I think everyone has fascinating stories to be discovered,” said the 55-year-old, who co-founded the Sacramento-based Nueva Galicia Genealogical Society, thought to be the oldest Mexican genealogical club in California.

Cortez and 20 other Mexican Americans with roots in the states of Jalisco, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes gathered Saturday at the Sacramento Family History Center for the club’s quarterly meeting, scanning church records, Mexican census data and border-crossing information to excavate secrets of the past. Interest in exploring Mexican roots is surging, now that Latinos are the state’s largest ethnic group, genealogy TV shows are hot and DNA research is becoming more exact, Cortez said.

Mexican Americans can trace their DNA to as many as five continents, said Cortez, who was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco.

As thrilled as she was to learn that Hidalgo was her seventh cousin four times removed, and that evidence shows Moctezuma was her 12th-great-grandfather, Cortez was shocked to learn the blood of a dozen nations flows through her veins. She said DNA tests show she’s not only 41 percent Native American and 30 percent Iberian, but also 2 percent North African, a little less than 1 percent Bantu from southeastern Africa, 4 percent west Asian, 3 percent Middle Eastern, 1 percent European Jewish, 9 percent Greek and Italian, 5 percent Irish, another 5 percent from Great Britain, along with some roots in southern and central Asia and northwestern Russia.

“We’re the most mixed race in the world, and I’m a child of the world,” said Cortez, noting that other club members have made similar discoveries after researching their DNA. “In Mexico, you’re not taught about slavery, but slavery existed there. … They didn’t disappear. They married and mixed in with the rest of the population, so a lot of us have African ancestry.”…

Read the entire article here.

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The black people ‘erased from history’

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Politics/Public Policy on 2016-04-11 00:02Z by Steven

The black people ‘erased from history’

BBC News Magazine
2016-04-10

Arlene Gregorius, BBC Mexico

More than a million people in Mexico are descended from African slaves and identify as “black”, “dark” or “Afro-Mexican” even if they don’t look black. But beyond the southern state of Oaxaca they are little-known and the community’s leaders are now warning of possible radical steps to achieve official recognition.

“The police made me sing the national anthem three times, because they wouldn’t believe I was Mexican,” says Chogo el Bandeno, a black Mexican singer-songwriter.

“I had to list the governors of five states too.”

He was visiting the capital, Mexico City, hundreds of miles from his home in southern Mexico, when the police stopped him on suspicion of being an illegal immigrant.

Fortunately his rendition of the anthem and his knowledge of political leaders convinced the police to leave him alone, but other Afro-Mexicans have not been so fortunate…

Read the entire article here.

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Sanctioning Matrimony: Interethnic Marriage in the Arizona Borderlands

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, United States, Women on 2016-04-05 02:48Z by Steven

Sanctioning Matrimony: Interethnic Marriage in the Arizona Borderlands

University of Arizona Press
2016-03-31
256 pages
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3237-7

Sal Acosta, Assistant Professor of History
Fordham University

A new look at race and ethnicity in the borderlands

Marriage, divorce, birth, baptism, and census records are the essential records of a community. Through them we see who marries, who divorces, and how many children are born. Sal Acosdta has studied a broad base of these vital records to produce the largest quantitative study of intermarriage of any group in the West. Sanctioning Matrimony examines intermarriage in the Tucson area between 1860 and 1930. Unlike previous studies on intermarriage, this book examines not only intermarriages of Mexicans with whites but also their unions with blacks and Chinese.

Following the Treaty of Mesilla (1853), interethnic relationships played a significant part in the Southwest. Acosta provides previously unseen archival research on the scope and tenor of interracial marriages in Arizona. Contending that scholarship on intermarriage has focused on the upper classes, Acosta takes us into the world of the working and lower classes and illuminates how church and state shaped the behavior of participants in interracial unions.

Marriage practices in Tucson reveal that Mexican women were pivotal in shaping family and social life between 1854 and 1930. Virtually all intermarriages before 1900 were, according to Acosta, between Mexican women and white men, or between Mexican women and blacks or Chinese until the 1920s, illustrating the importance of these women during the transformation of Tucson from a Mexican pueblo to an American town.

Acosta’s deep analysis of vital records, census data, and miscegenation laws in Arizona demonstrates how interethnic relationships benefited from and extended the racial fluidity of the Arizona borderlands.

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Exploring Whiteness in a Black-Indian Village on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery on 2016-04-05 01:49Z by Steven

Exploring Whiteness in a Black-Indian Village on Mexico’s Costa Chica

The Latin American Diaries
Institute of Latin American Studies
2015-06-29

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Latin American Anthropology
University of Southampton

During the early colonial period, Mexico had one of the largest African slave populations in Latin America. Today, there are numerous historically black communities along the coast of the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca – a region known as the Costa Chica. Towards the end of the 16th century, the Spanish Crown granted tracts of land in the region to several conquistadors who had quelled local Indian resistance. These conquistadors brought to the coast cattle for ranching, and – in the colonial vernacular – blacks and mulattoes, both free and enslaved, to work as cowboys, in agriculture, and as overseers, including of Indian labor.

As time went on, two ethnic zones developed: the foothills and highlands of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range at the Costa Chica’s northern edge held Indian communities, while the zone closest to the coast became an ethnic mix that included Indians drawn willingly or unwillingly into the colonial ambit. On the coast, blacks, mulattoes and Indians worked together for Spaniards. Indians also taught blacks and mulattoes native healing, agricultural techniques and local building styles. Because demographics tilted towards African-descent males, informal and formal unions between them and Indian women were common. By the middle of the 17th century, many coastal belt villages were Afro-Indigenous…

Read the entire article here.

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Afro-Latin America

Posted in Anthropology, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Course Offerings, Forthcoming Media, History, Mexico, United States on 2016-03-09 22:08Z by Steven

Afro-Latin America

State University of New York, Albany
Summer 2016
Course Info: ALCS 203

Luis Paredes

Analysis of blackness in Latin America with a focus on the representations of peoples of African descent in national identities and discourses. The course examines some of the “myths of foundation” of Latin American nations (e.g. The “cosmic race” in Mexico, “racial democracy” in Brazil, etc.), and how these myths bring together ideas of nation, gender, race, blackness, whiteness, and mestizaje (racial and cultural mixture).

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Mexico Finally Recognized Its Black Citizens, But That’s Just The Beginning

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2016-02-04 02:03Z by Steven

Mexico Finally Recognized Its Black Citizens, But That’s Just The Beginning

The Huffington Post
2016-01-27

Krithika Varagur
Associate Editor, What’s Working

In Mexico, like everywhere, identity is complex.

Last month, for the first time ever, the Mexican government recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey. The survey served as a preliminary count before the 2020 national census, where “black” will debut as an official category.

A major force behind the government’s recognition was México Negro, an activist group founded in 1997 by Sergio Peñaloza Pérez, a school teacher of African descent. México Negro works for, among other initiatives, the constitutional recognition of Afro-Mexicans and to increase the visibility of Afro-Mexican culture.

The Huffington Post recently caught up with Peñaloza to discuss his organization, why recognition matters and what’s next for black Mexicans…

Why Has It Taken So Long?

Until last month, Mexico was one of only two Latin-American countries (the other is Chile) to not officially count its black population. As a result, the move to recognize Afro-Mexicans has been met with some pushback from Mexicans who believe that mestizo identity (the mix between indigenous people and Europeans) is more important than specific ethnicities.

Mexico’s post-revolutionary government made a conscious effort to create a national mixed-race identity that melded Hispanic, indigenous and African ethnicities. Article 2 of Mexico’s 1917 Constitution recognized its “multicultural composition,” and today, over 60% of Mexicans identify as mestizos. So in modern Mexico, “blackness” is still a tenuous identity, and many use labels like “criollo” (creole) or “moreno” rather than the ones black Mexicans tend to prefer. Peñaloza, for instance, describes himself as “afrodescendiente (of African descent), negro (black), or afromexicano (Afro-Mexican).”…

Read the entire article here.

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Mexico ‘discovers’ 1.4 million black Mexicans—they just had to ask

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2015-12-19 03:40Z by Steven

Mexico ‘discovers’ 1.4 million black Mexicans—they just had to ask

Fusion
2015-12-15

Rafa Fernandez De Castro

For the first time in its history, Mexico’s census bureau has recognized the country’s black population in a national survey that found there are approximately 1.4 million citizens (1.2% of the population) who self-identify as “Afro-Mexican” or “Afro-descendant.”

The survey found that more women identify as black than men, by about 705,000 to 677,000. It also found that most Afro-Mexicans live in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Veracruz, which is not entirely unsurprising given Mexico’s history.

Miguel Cervera, director general of sociodemographic statistics for the country’s census bureau (known as INEGI), told Fusion the 2015 survey is a preliminary effort to register demographic changes in preparation for the 2020 national census. He says Afro-Mexicans have always been included in past surveys, but were never given the option to identify themselves as such…

Read the entire article here.

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Mariage et métissage dans les sociétés coloniales: Amériques, Afrique et Iles de l’Océan Indien (XVIe–XXe–siècles) (Marriage and misgeneration [miscegenation?] in colonial societies: Americas, Africa and islands of the Indian ocean (XVIth–XXth centuries))

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Mexico, Oceania, United States on 2015-12-13 02:31Z by Steven

Mariage et métissage dans les sociétés coloniales: Amériques, Afrique et Iles de l’Océan Indien (XVIe–XXe–siècles) (Marriage and misgeneration [miscegenation?] in colonial societies: Americas, Africa and islands of the Indian ocean (XVIth–XXth centuries))

Peter Lang
2015
357 pages
Softcover ISBN: 978-3-0343-1605-7

Edited by:

Guy Brunet, Vice President
Société de Démographie Historique, Paris, France
also: Professor of History, University Lyon

La conquête de vastes empires coloniaux par les puissances européennes, suivie par des mouvements migratoires d’ampleur variable selon les territoires et les époques, a donné naissance à de nouvelles sociétés. Les principaux groupes humains, indigènes, sous différentes appellations, colons d’origine européenne et leurs descendants, et parfois esclaves arrachés au continent africain, se sont mélangés parfois rapidement et avec une forte intensité, parfois plus tardivement ou marginalement. Les unions, officialisées par des mariages ou restées consensuelles, provoqué l’apparition de nouvelles générations métisses et ainsi qu’un phénomène de créolisation. L’effectif de chacun de ces groupes humains, et l’existence éventuelle de barrières entre eux, ont produit des degrés de métissage très divers que les administrateurs des sociétés coloniales ont tenté de classifier. Les seize textes réunis dans cet ouvrage abordent la manière dont les populations se sont mélangées, ainsi que la position des métis dans les nouvelles sociétés. Ces questions sont abordées dans une perspective de long terme, du XVIe au XXe siècle, et à propos de nombreux territoires, du Canada à la Bolivie, des Antilles à Madagascar, de l’Algérie à l’Angola.

The conquest of large colonial empires by European powers, followed by migratory flows, more or less important depending on places and periods, gave birth to new societies. The most important human groups, indigenous, European born settlers and their descendants, and sometimes slaves snatched from the African continent, mixed, more or less early, more or less intensely. Unions, legally registered or not, and misgeneration [miscegenation?] lead to the appearance of mixed-blood generations and to a process of creolisation. The numerical strength of these human groups, and the existence of barriers between them, produced various degrees of misgeneration that the authorities of the colonial societies tried to identify and to classify. The sixteen texts gathered in this book study the way that these populations got mixed, and the place of mixed-blood people in the new societies. These issues are tackled in a long-term perspective, about various territories, from Canada to Bolivia, from the French West Indies to Madagascar, from Algeria to Angola.

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