Author: Bill Smith
I want to explore a segment of the Mexican population we hear very littly about in our society, and kept v-e-r-y quiet by the Mexican government and their society at large. When we think of Mexico we often think of Mestizos, the Mayas, the Aztecs, the Olmec civilization, the Chiappas, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants. We hear about Cancun, Mazatlan, Acapulco. Well, tonight, I want to talk about the Blackx-i-cans, Mexico's Dark Secret.
This song, La Bamba, sung by a young, talented Mexican American named *Richie Valens* was a big hit back in the 1950's. In fact, it was ONE of the longest, if not THE longest pop hits that ever hit the charts. This song didn't just ingeniously pop into his head. It goes back more than 300 years. La Bamba, or *Mbamba was a traditional African dance* and is the name of an ethnic group in Angola, West Africa.
Most Afro-Mexicans have been living in 40 neighboring villages on Mexico's Pacific Coast in the states of *Oaxaca and Guerrero* for approximately 300 years. This area, called *La Costa Chica (Short Coast) is a 200-mile long region beginning just south east of Acapulco, in the state of Guerrero and ending near the town of Puerto Angel, in the state of Oaxaca.* *Mexicans of African descent also live throughout state of Vera Cruz on Mexico's gulf coast.*
Now, how did these Africans get to Mexico in the first place?