Sunday Shout-Out: Mexico
Vicente Guerrero (August 10, 1782 – February 14, 1831) - Mexico’s First Black President
Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was one of the leading revolutionary generals of the Mexican War of Independence. He fought against Spain for independence in the early 19th century, and later served as President of Mexico.
Guerrero was a descendant of the roughly 250,000 enslaved Africans brought to Mexico during colonial times. His parents were Pedro Guerrero, a Mestizo, and María de Guadalupe Saldaña, an African slave. Part indigenous, he was raised in an Indio barrio in the mountain town of Tixtla in the state that carries his name. During the 1810 war his knowledge of native languages helped the future president rise in rank. In villages he organized the community for the war effort, often using a speech in which he praised the Indio political system of elected councils and chiefs, while asking for allegiance to the fight for “the bigger democracy” at the state level.
President Guerrero was known for eloquence, as displayed in his first speech to congress, “If we succeed in spreading the guarantees of the individual, if equality before the law destroys the efforts of power and gold, if the highest title between us is that of citizen, if the rewards we bestow are exclusively for talent and virtue, we have a republic, and she will be conserved by the universal suffrage of a people solid, free and happy.”