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The Afro-Mexican connection

April 20, 2007 |  9:41 am

For centuries, Mexico has downplayed its rich African heritage, and there've been some embarrassing  recent examples of Afro-Mexican culture clash.

But a new wave of academics, film makers and others are exploring the impact of African slaves in shaping Mexican history, music, art, food and culture. The March issue of the Mexico City English-language monthly Inside Mexico devotes its cover story to a look at the African descendants of the Costa Chica region of Mexico's Guerrero and Michoacán states.

This week, Mexico City is hosting its first festival of African cinema. A total of 47 feature and animated films and documentaries from 20 African countries are being screened, and a giant map of Africa is being displayed in the capital's Zócalo (central plaza) to help Mexicans get better acquainted with the continent that has given them such famous citizens as the Mexican War of Independence priest-hero José María Morelos, whom many historians believe was of African heritage.

Posted by Reed Johnson in Mexico City