On this day, 52 years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away. A psychiatrist, Pan-Africanist, writer, and revolutionary, he was born in Martinique in 1925. In 1952 he published “Black Skin, White Masks,” which exposed the negative effects of colonization on the mental state of subjugated people. As a psychiatrist in Algeria, he joined the FLN (National Liberation Front), which waged a war of independence against France. In 1961, Fanon published The Wretched of the Earth, a book on decolonization that has remained a classic and has influenced revolutionaries the world over, including Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Che Guevara, and Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness movement. Fanon died in Maryland, where he had sought treatment for leukemia, and was buried in Algeria.
Photo Credit: NYPL
South African leader Nelson Mandela died yesterday at age 95. Here he is with Fidel Castro in Cuba, photographed on July 1991.
Four years after a coup ousted the Honduran President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the country’s voters returned to the polls, on Sunday, for the first general election since a controversial and widely disputed vote held months after Zelaya’s ouster. Jeremy Relph writes about the election, with photographs by Dominic Bracco II: http://nyr.kr/193rbMv
Above: A young boy draws in the dirt as his parents act as buffers between the police, the military, and gunmen in San Pedro Sula.
Today In Latin American History
The Mirabal sisters—Patria, Minerva, and María Teresa—were murdered in the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960 in retaliation for their active work against the regime of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who was eventually executed the following year. The sisters’ home province of Salcedo has been renamed Hermanas Mirabal Province in their honor in 2007, and the United Nations has designated the anniversary of their death as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Their story was also fictionalized in Julia Álvarez’ 1994 novel In the Time of the Butterflies and the 2010 film Trópico de Sangre. The sisters’ image also appears in the 200 Dominican pesos note.
The painter José Clemente Orozco has always been less revered than his countryman Diego Rivera, but now many scholars are pushing for Orozco to be seen with fresh eyes.
Google’s doodle for Panamanian independence day on November 3.
The news of Panama’s US-orchestrated separation from Colombia on November 3, 1903 made the pages of the New York Times the following day.
Jean-Baptiste Belley ca. 1740-1805
Jean-Baptiste Belley, also known as Mars, was a former slave from Saint-Domingue who became one of the first Black men to hold elective office in France. Born in the West African island of Goreé, part of present-day Senegal, Belley was sold into slavery as a toddler, eventually arriving in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, he became educated and was able to purchase his freedom as an adult. In 1793, following the French Revolution, he was elected as the only Black member of a three person coalition sent to France to represent the colony of Saint-Domingue in the National Convention, where he spoke in defense of the Abolition of slavery in February 1794. Slavery was briefly abolished in the French colonies that same year, only to be reinstated after Napoleon’s rise to power five years later. Belley stayed as a member of the Convention, and later the Council of the Five Hundred, until losing his seat in 1797. He then obtained a position in the gendarmerie nationale and returned to Saint-Domingue on official missions. While in France, his portrait (shown above) was painted by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, a pupil of Jacques-Louis David. Belley returned to Saint-Domingue with Charles LeClerc in 1802, the year slavery was reinstated in the French colonies, and was arrested on orders of Napoleon Bonaparte. He travelled again to France, this time as a prisoner, where he died in 1805.
The portrait is currently at the Musée national du Château de Versailles.
This is copied and pasted from a post I wrote two years ago: http://fylatinamericanhistory.tumblr.com/post/2898529566/jean-baptiste-belley-ca-1740-1805-jean-baptiste.
Today In Latin American History
Tomás Estrada Palma, a veteran of the Cuban Ten Years’ War who became the first president of the newly-independent Republic of Cuba in 1902 after living in exile for several years, died in the city of Santiago on November 4, 1908.
The official twitter account for the Mexican government tweeted their write up for the history of La Calavera Catrina:
Durante los gobiernos de Benito Juárez, Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada y Porfirio Díaz, los dibujos de cráneos y esqueletos acompañados de textos que criticaban de forma burlona la situación del país así como de las clases privilegiadas se volvieron populares entre la población y se empezaron a reproducir en periódicos llamados de “combate”.
Entre los grabadores que destacaron con su trabajo de “calaveras” se encontraban Constantino Escalante, Santiago Hernández, Manuel Manilla y José Guadalupe Posada, quien en sus obras acentuó el carácter festivo y desenfadado del pueblo mexicano.
El arte de Posada fue diverso, a través de sus “calaveras” retrató la esencia de los pesares y alegrías del pueblo que vivía grandes diferencias sociales durante el Porfiriato. Actualmente, éstas son relacionadas directamente con el Día de Muertos, sin embargo también representan la interpretación de la vida de la sociedad de aquella época.
Calaveras vestidas con ropas de gala, bebiendo pulque, montadas a caballo, en fiestas de la alta sociedad o de un barrio, como es el caso de “La Catrina”.
Bautizada originalmente como “La Calavera Garbancera”, José Guadalupe Posada realizó un grabado en metal para criticar a quienes eran conocidos precisamente como “garbanceros”, es decir, aquellas personas que teníansangre indígena pero pretendían ser europeos, renegando de sus raíces y de su cultura.
No cabe duda de que la obra de Posada influyó en artistas posteriores, entre ellos a Diego Rivera, quien le dio a “La Catrina” el nombre y la forma con que hoy la conocemos. Fue él quien la pintó por primera vez vestida dentro de su mural Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central.
La palabra “catrín” definía a un hombre elegante y bien vestido, el cual iba acompañado de alguna dama con las mismas características; este estilo fue una imagen clásica de la aristocracia de fines del siglo XIX y principios del XX. Es por ello que, al darle una vestimenta de ese tipo, Diego Rivera convirtió a la “La Calavera Garbancera” en “La Catrina”.