Black on Both Sides

Internationalism in the Struggle for México Negro


  • Danny Widener


This article explores the emergence and development of organizing around Blackness in Mexico. It offers an excavation of recent political history that culminated with the achievement of federal recognition of Afromexican identity by the Mexican state. The focus is on political gatherings and processes, although some mention of cultural work is made as well. Specific attention is given to the controversial presence of people of African descent from outside Mexico, assessing their contribution to the larger process of Black organizing within the country. I argue that these organizers played a key role in helping local activists devise what one scholar, writing in another context, has described as a “common grammar” of social experience that connected disparate villages throughout Mexico with the wider African diaspora. At the same time, the article offers an overview and assessment of the organizational forms and goals of Black organizations in Mexico. Here, questions regarding terminologies of self-definition, political interventions within the wider national context, the role of cultural activity, and the relationship between Black and Indigenous mobilization are all taken up.





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