With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

This underground railroad took slaves to freedom in Mexico

Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign that he wanted to keep “bad hombres” out of the country. He told the Mexican president, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press, that he wanted Mexico to stop "bad hombres down there" from coming across the southern border of the US. ...

But going north across the border has not always been the objective. More than 100 years ago, for example, Americans were escaping into Mexico.

Slaves in the US famously took the underground railroad north into free states and Canada, but a similar path existed to the south into Mexico. Slavery was abolished in Mexico in 1829 by Mexican President Vicente Guerrero, who was of mixed descent, including African heritage.

That's why, on a cloudy day this winter, Roseann Bacha-Garza is walking through tall grass and trying not to step on tombstones that date back to the mid 1800s at the Jackson Ranch cemetery in San Juan, Texas. She manages the Community Historical Archeology Projects with Schools program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She says the Jackson family in south Texas played an instrumental role in smuggling slaves into Mexico.

Read entire article at PRI