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Afro-Mexican, Underground Railroad:Book Black Abolitionists

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The Gist of Freedom

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Join the Gist of Freedom as we continue our book discussion: Black Abolitionists by Benjamin Quarles!
Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s first black president

Texas President Sam Houston lamented that ". . . two valuable negro boys for which I had paid in cash $2100 previous to my visit to Nashville, ran away last spring to Mexico. Thus you can see I am in bad luck."(17) After the U.S.-Mexican War (1846-1848) Mexico continued to assert itself by refusing to enter into any extradition treaties with the United States.(18)

Just two and a half months after Mexico abolished slavery Mexican officials were uneasy about the numbers of new Americans settling within Mexico and they attempted to curb the number of newcomers, including slaves, in another way. In 1830, Mexico decreed that foreigners could not cross the border without obtaining a passport issued by Mexican agents.(6) The Mexican government, however, was generally ineffectual in enforcing this law and it was largely ignored.

Texans did not respect the MEXICAN border in their pursuits of Freed Blacks.

In 1855, Captain James Callahan of the Texas Rangers under the orders of Texan Governor Elisha Pease entered Mexico in an attempt to recapture slaves. Callahan insisted that the purpose of his excursion was to pursue Indians rather than recapture fugitive slaves. The Mexican government with the help of Native Americans, however, forced him to retreat and withdraw without the slaves; although not without leaving a small village in ruins.(23)