Seen Elsewhere: Mexico Welcomed African Americans During the 1800s? Say what?


There was once a time when many African Americans found work on the other side of the border.   You mean African Americans fled to Mexico to work and live?

Sure did.

During the 1890s, many Black American migrants fled slave-like conditions and segregation in south to find better opportunities in Mexico.  They established their own colonies which included branches of the Marcus Garvey Universal Negro Improvement Association.

During the period of the Mexican Revolution, many African Americans fled from New Orleans to Tampico, Mexico, because of a booming oil industry.

When we look at the way that African Americans and Mexican and Mexican Americans are pitted against each other today or the erasure of Afro-Mexican histories, the fact that Mexico was once a haven of opportunity for African Americans shows a cross cultural connection that needs to be talked about.

You may not find this in your average history book but the significance of this fact is that it connects Black American and Mexican Americans.  In Houston, I hear us (Black Americans and Mexican Americans) talk about ourselves as separate but our histories, stories and lives are intertwined.  My experiences of us dancing to the same music, eating each others foods and encountering similar (but not the same) racisms should make us allies. We can blame the media, our school systems and the like, but in the end of the day WE have to be agents of change.


Wilkins, Ron. “Mexico Welcomed Fugitive Slaves and African-American Job-seekers – IMDiversity.“ IMDiversity. 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.

This piece was originally published on the LatiNegrxs Project space.


2 thoughts on “Seen Elsewhere: Mexico Welcomed African Americans During the 1800s? Say what?

    • Black girl, Latin World says:

      Very true! Thank you for sharing. Let us not for get Mexico’s hidden third root though. It is not all fine and dandy for Black people there.

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