Part 3 – My notes from the book,
“An African American and Latinx History of the United States”
by Paul Ortiz
From the 1820s to the 1850s, Afro-American thinkers watched and waited as Mexican revolutionaries tried to connect to leadership in the United States for support in their “struggles against Spanish colonialism.” The book suggests one particular Mexican revolutionary leader, Jose Morelos, wrote to US President James Madison, urging that the people of Mexico wanted to follow in the footsteps of the 13-colonies. Maybe this is why the official name of the country is “The United Mexican States”???
But as the book implies… it is no coincidence that while the people of Mexico were declaring their independence in 1829; abolition of slavery was also being instituted in Mexico. Because their anti-slavery spirit underlined a “political culture” based on liberty; there probably couldn’t have been an alignment with the US… and its racial-capitalist views that make “commercial imperialism” their priority.
As early as the 1820s, the Rio Grande River had become the newest trunk of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. So instead of the US aligning with Mexico in their war with Spain, the US congress tried to negotiate a treaty to make sure Mexico would surrender fugitive slaves to protect slave-owner interests.
During the Seminole Wars, slave-owners pressured the US congress to invade Mexico to keep their racial-capitalist efforts, as far east as Florida, from escaping to Mexico. But the Mexican congress rejected any treaty that would encourage slavery to resume in their newly formed republic. So I guess it’s easy to understand what came next… the 1845 US annexation of Texas. Evidently, before 1845, Texas was sovereign as a republic rather than an official state of the United States. And the Republic of Texas was the last slavery post before sanctuary towns in Mexico. After the annexation of Texas, the US proceeded to attempt to invade Mexico. Many Afro-Americans spoke out how the invasion was simply an attempt to expand slave territories. While in the early 1850s, the author suggests the Mexican government “welcomed” Afro-American fighters of the Seminole Wars to help defend the Mexican border from slave catchers called the Texas Rangers.
Thank goodness, Mexico never conceded to re-establish racial-capitalism in their newly formed republic of independence. And as a concession, the US war with Mexico concluded with a treaty to give US citizenship to Mexicans living in the newly acquired US territories, (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). The Mexican-Americas were suppose to be able to keep the land the US would acquire via the treaty; but things haven’t worked out that way… exactly (for another blog.)
The book explains how California entered the union of the United States in 1850 as an anti-slavery state; but rapidly contradicted this move by passing a fugitive slave law in 1852. You would think this would be an Afro-American problem. But the spirit of disenfranchising anyone not Anglo-Saxon was being heavily perpetrated through out the state of California. Racial assaults on Mexican-Americans and Native-Americans included township massacres and indentured servitude. The book notes how the state of Oregon rejected slavery for statehood in 1859; but included in their constitution and bill of rights a Negro Exclusion Law. This same spirit encouraged scientist to rank racial groups by their skull size to rationalize that Native-Americans were inferior… what the book calls “scientific racism.”
As has been in Mexico, and other American countries south of Mexico; the Spirit of Freedom is the true sucess story of liberation. The book mentions how Fredrick Douglass accredits emancipation of the slave, in the United States, not to Abraham Lincoln; but to the efforts of plantation worker uprisings.
And so we must continue that Spirit of Freedom and Liberation until every woman/man is respected for their Right to be treated as Human… no matter what their race or original nationality. But for the Afro-American; know that… there are major links to how the Spirit of Liberation greatly impacted our emancipation with the Independence of Mexico.
Side Note: It is not my intention to steal any wording or phasing from the book. I hope I was careful enough to not misrepresent the author or any content of the writings. Ashe.