Afro-Mexicans find L.A. in 1781

Adolfo Valdez and Michael Cueto

History Professors Walter Fernandez and John Macias would consider Afro- Mexicans to be the first to populate the city of Los Angeles and the true founders of the Pueblo of Los Angeles.

Fernandez and Macias spoke during the Afro-Mexican Ancestry and the Founders of the Pueblo of Los Angeles lecture held in LC 155 Tuesday Feb. 7 11 am to 12:15 pm.

One thing Professor Fernandez stated was that “California has been defined and narrowed down to the fourth grade curriculum.”

According Fernandez and Macias, just a few years after we secure our independence with French help in a war against the British, 11 families traveled from Sinaloa, Jalisco and Sonora to populate a free land in September of 1781; that land being the pueblo of Los Angeles.

In 2013, the Black population was recognized in Mexico. This Black population being the result of the slave trades that were going on in the 1600’s, among Spaniards and Mexicans.

Engineering major Manuel Favela found it interesting that his parents’ hometown Sinaloa, Mexico had an impact on the founding of the pueblo of Los Angeles.

Nursing major Jessica Gonzalez’s was thrilled with the outcome of the lecture and the new knowledge she picked up from it.

Jessica said, “Before the lecture I thought it was Spaniards that founded Los Angeles. After the lecture I learned that it happened to be Afro- Mexicans from nearby states in Mexico of where my parents are from.”

Fernandez said, “The Los Angeles settlers were a hybrid culture. There was the mixture of the indigenous [people] , Spaniards, Mexicans, and also Africans would be found in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico.”

Macias said, “Growing up I had the idea or notion that the founders of Los Angeles were Spaniards. I never had the idea that there were Afro-Mexicans or Africans involved. By the time I get to high school, this was a Mexican contribution; but it would be obscure to say, because we were leaving out the African roots that are involved.”