Ignored by a ‘raceless society,’ black Mexicans are themselves in denial
    of their history. And efforts to bring dignity to los negros have largely failed.
    
    - Houston Chronicle, Vol. 130
            July 4, 2004

i.

Legend has it,
there was a slave ship
sailing near the Yucatan peninsula.
Shipwrecked,
the slaves let loose—
they ran into the wilderness.
Many of them established
pueblos, hidden away from
the Spanish.

This is the explanation
as to why Blackness
exists in México.

ii.

Latinoamérica 
has been bleached.
The master narrative
is white,
the heroes & heroines
are white.

(For centuries, México
  denied its Mesoamerican
  past. & she can barely
  explain why some of her
  children are Black.)

The Spanish language,
the Spanish god,
the Spanish names—
but the Indigenous body
& African skin.

iii.

This was no accident.
White men came over
on wooden ships.
They brought famine.
White men had silver
tongue, spoke of peace.
White men claimed to be
Quetzalcoatl.
White men lied.
They brought war.
White men betrayed.
White men enslaved
the Mexicas.
They brought Africans.

This was no accident.
Black people were brought
to the land of the sun.
Black people were labored
to death, along with the Mexica.

     White men raped Mexica women:
     First Mestizos were born.
     White men raped African women:
     First Mulattos were born.

This was no accident.
The descendants of the Spanish
attempted to bleach Mexico’s origin.
This was no accident.
White man’s burden: cover-up slavery.
White man’s denial: cover-up Afro-Indios.
White man’s creation: a bastard México.

This was no accident.

Latinoamérica is European,
                            is Indigenous,
                     is African.

This is no accident, how can it be?
Blackness in México
exists.

iv.

A forgotten song for
the many long lost over
centuries of colonization.

Mexicans with Afros
& Black skin are pushed
further into oblivion.
Lost in between myths
of shipwrecks, Black Mayan
kings & Olmec head statues.

Lost crossing the border
& being labeled African-American.
Lost in the narrative of México:
    White man, Indigenous woman.
Lost in song of Sambos, Lobos, Negros.

Lost in Dance of Devils,
summoning the souls of
ancestors—Indios, Africanos,
     Lost in history.

v.

Legend has it,
there was a slave
who had escaped
captivity & ran
into the wilderness.

He wandered
& eventually settled
near the shore.
He established a pueblito.
He wandered back to
the plantation where
his people were suffering.

He organized and incited a revolt.
The slaves were victorious.

Gaspar Nyanga, one of
many testaments to
Blackness in México. 


    Legend Has It... 

Prose by Enrique Garcia Naranjo

Photography by Maya Goded from the series, Tierra Negra (Black Earth)

Header and Cover Image by Tony Gleaton from the series, Africa's Legacy in Mexico

Curated by Renata Cherlise