African American Museum presents "Yanga: Journeys to Freedom" opening day
African American Museum will present "Yanga: Journeys to Freedom," a groundbreaking exhibit that will share a new perspective on the Atlantic Slave Trade and the African American perspective. It will also highlight the experiences of AfroMexicans across the regions of Coahuila, the coast of Veracruz and Costa Chica in Guerrero and Oaxaca.
The new exhibition, curated by Jorge Baldor and Zameer Jiwani of Latino Arts Project, reframes the conversation about freedom and the journeys taken by Africans through a collaborative and interactive presentation celebrating AfroMexican art and history.
Visitors to the museum will explore the largely unknown story of Gaspar Yanga, one of the first liberators in the Americas. A prince from an African royal family in Gabon, Yanga, was taken as an enslaved person in 1570 to Veracruz, Mexico, which was then part of New Spain. He escaped and led a group of enslaved people to revolt and create their own colony, called San Lorenzo de los Negros, and later renamed Yanga. The formerly enslaved people were able to defeat the Spaniards and negotiated with the King of Spain to build one of the first freed slave communities in the Americas.
The exhibit also highlights the often-neglected story of the more than 5,000 enslaved people who escaped predominantly from Texas to Mexico in what is known as the Southern Underground Railroad, which evolved after Mexico banned the practice of slavery in 1829. A group founded the town of Nacimiento de los Negros in the bordering Mexican state of Coahuila, where their direct descendants still live today.
The exhibit will be on view through the end of October.