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  • Interview with a Family in Cuajilote: Aurelio Campos Contreras, Juana Maria Contreras Tello, Isidro Campos Mendoza, Alejandro Campos Mendoza, Alejandro Mendoza Montufa, Maricela Campos Mendoza, Maria de los Angeles Campos Contreras / Una Entrevista con una Familia en Cuajilote: Aurelio Campos Contreras, Juana Maria Contreras Tello, Isidro Campos Mendoza, Alejandro Campos Mendoza, Alejandro Mendoza Montufa, Maricela Campos Mendoza, Maria de los Angeles Campos Contreras
  • Charles H. Rowell and Marcus Jones
  • Interview with a Family in CuajiloteAurelio Campos Contreras, Juana Maria Contreras Tello, Isidro Campos Mendoza, Alejandro Campos Mendoza, Alejandro Mendoza Montufa, Maricela Campos Mendoza, Maria de los Angeles Campos Contreras
  • Charles H. Rowell and Marcus Jones

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Campos Mendoza family member
Cuajilote, Mexico

Photo by Marcus D. Jones © 2007

[End Page 24]

This interview took place in May 2007, in Cuajilote, Veracruz, Mexico.

ROWELL: Aurelio, you were speaking of Yanga earlier. Are you a direct descendent of Gaspar Yanga?

AURELIO: I was mentioning that, in accordance with tradition, people have a celebration in honor of Yanga because he founded this community many years ago. They've celebrated with a carnival, like the ones they do in Veracruz. People from as far away as Cuba have come to take part in the carnivals. Yanga was a great leader and fought for this community. And supposedly, we have a grandmother, Doña Dolores, who is his descendent. We didn't interact with her much because, when we were born, she was already older. But the family continues with younger descendents. We're very glad that you are interested in knowing our family tree.

JONES: And how old are you?

AURELIO: I'm sixty-four years old.

MARIA: I'm ninety-one, going on ninety-two.

AURELIO: My wife and I had seven children. Our family is a small one. She [referring to the matriarch] had a big family. She had twenty.

MARIA: Eighteen.

AURELIO: See, I even lost count.

MARIA: Three girls and the rest all men. Fifteen of my children survived to adulthood. [End Page 25]

ROWELL: Do you descend from Gaspar Yanga?

ISIDRO: Yes, grandmother did. She was my mom's great-grandmother. I got to meet her. She was my great-great-grandmother, and she would tell me that she was a direct descendent of Yanga. Her name was Doña Dolores. When I met her she was already 90 or 100 years old. She died around 1972. I remember because I was six years old. Now I'm 41. And she would tell me that we were direct descendents of Yanga.

I started investigating our family tree because we have black and white blood. My great-great-grandmother came from black people. But we all come from the same place. And we hold Yanga to be an illustrious man because it was he who liberated the people from slavery. That's why Yanga is the first free community in the Americas. Doña Dolores would tell me a lot about our background. But she would also tell me a lot about her involvement in the Mexican Revolution. But the races got mixed. She said the Malpica, Sorcia, Meneces and Mina families come from one side of Yanga's family. On my grandmother's side, many kids turned out white and brown because my grandfather-who died past 90-came from Puebla. He arrived here when he was thirteen years old. He, too, was a founder of this community. And of course my grandmother comes from brown people and my grandfather from white people. So we got mixed here. Among women, the genealogy is lost because they take their husband's last name.

MARIA: I have dark-skinned children-blacks, too. Also I have white children.

ALEX: She has black children about the same color as Dr. Rowell. And she has white ones like my dad and lighter-skinned ones, almost like you [referring to Marcus Jones], a bit lighter, even. But that's because she's black and my grandfather is white.

ISIDRO: Some years ago, maybe about twenty, one of my mom's sisters had a child who was white. But the child died from a cancerous tumor. They couldn't...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Pages
pp. 24-213
Launched on MUSE
2008-09-14
Open Access
No
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