The Legacy of Vicente Guerrero, Mexico's First Black Indian President

Theodore G. Vincent

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"A book that must be read by all Americans who desire a more critical understanding of the historical contributions that Africans made beyond the borders of the United States. It dramatically captures a history that has long been neglected by historians of the Mexican Revolution of 1810. . . . An important contribution that links the common histories of African and Latino Americans."--Carlos Muñoz, Jr., University of California, Berkeley

Elected the first black Indian president of Mexico in 1829, Vicente Guerrero has been called the country's Washington and Lincoln. This revisionist biography of one of Mexico's most important historical figures--the person who issued the decree abolishing slavery--traces the impact of race and ethnicity on Mexico's national identity.
An activist from boyhood and a mule driver by trade, Guerrero led a coalition of blacks and indigenous peoples during the difficult last years of Mexico's war for independence from Spain, 1810-21. In office, he taxed the rich, protected small businesses, tried to abolish the death penalty, and championed the village council movement in which peasants elected representatives without qualifications of race, property ownership, or literacy; he enjoyed signing his correspondence "Citizen Guerrero." In 1831 he was kidnapped and killed by his political opponents.
This book also tells the story of seven generations of Guerrero's activist descendants, including his grandson Vicente Riva Palacio, the historian whose well-known writings elaborate on the ideals of a multiracial and democratic nation. Still in print today, his novels, essays, and five-volume national history are used here to help explain the factors that made the region of "El Sur" a center for political radicals from 1810 up to the revolution of 1910.
For all readers interested in issues of diversity, this book will illuminate the evolving and distinct interactions of Indians, whites, and the descendants of the 250,000 Africans and 100,000 Asians brought to colonial Mexico.

Theodore G. Vincent, a retired history instructor from the University of California, Berkeley, is a former newspaper columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Dispatch. He is the author of four books, most recently Keep Cool: The Black Activists Who Built the Jazz Age, and has published many articles on Afro-Mexico.

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"excellent resource by those interested in the Mexican struggle for independence. For those concerned with the pervasiveness of racism, in this case a Spanish colonial setting, this is the book to read." - International Third World Studies Journal and Review
--International Third World Studies Journal and Review

"Much more than a simple biography. Vincent has set out to recount the Mexican war for independence and much of early- nineteenth century Mexican history, emphasizing the hitherto neglected contributions of its African population. Clearly written and profusely illustrated. Both college students and specialists will find it useful. " - HISTORY: Reviews of New Books
--HISTORY: Reviews of New Books

"Vincent relates Guerrero's study with verve and style. Restores one of the great figures of the Americas, and places him along with others of his class and color in the limelight of history they earned though daring, courage and sacrifice." - Global Black News
--Global Black News

"Vincent sets out an interpretation that offers two important contributions that future researchers should take very seriously. First, Vincent rescues key portions of the often hidden presence of African cultural and biological heritage in Mexican history. Second, Vincent argues that our understanding of the independence wars and the politics that followed can be significantly enriched by a more careful consideration of the importance of race and racial discourse in the period., These contributions make the book well worth reading." - The Americas

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