The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

statements in a strict chronological treatment, they are nonetheless valuable for
their exhaustive review of relevant sources. In this respect, Quirarte has done an
admirable service-and most artistically. The introductory historical chapters re-
ly on traditional sources, an appendix provides a useful list and description of
the colonial documents consulted, and a glossary contains definitions of chiefly
religious and architectural terms. The book is handsomely designed, containing
many line drawings and photographs, and well worth the price of admission.
The information contained in this work is most important to whatever interpre-
tation and reconstruction these Texas mission sites will have in the future.
University of Texas at Austzn Adsin Benavides
The Legacy of Vzcente Guerrero, Mexico's Fzrst Black Indzan Preszdent. By Theodore G.
Vincent. (Tallahassee: University Press of Florida, 2oo1. Pp. xiii+336. Illus-
trations, tables and map, acknowledgments, author's note, introduction,
notes, bibliography, index. ISBN o-8130-244-22-6. $55.00, cloth.)
On the morning of February 14, 1831, deposed Mexican president Vicente
Guerrero was led before a firing squad in a courtyard of the Dominican
monastery at Cuilapan, outside the city of Oaxaca. After confessing his transgres-
sions but defending his actions in support of the nascent Mexican state, Guer-
rero was executed, becoming the fourth of the five leading figures in the Wars
for Independence to meet such a fate. In this study of Mexico's "first black Indi-
an president," Theodore Vincent examines Guerrero's contributions to the
modern Mexican nation, both those he achieved prior to his untimely death,
and afterwards through individuals whom he inspired, focusing particularly on
his subject's commitment to racial justice and equality.
Vincent does an admirable job in sketching the arc of Guerrero's life, which
has received scant biographical attention. This oversight is surprising, especially
when one considers the remarkable nature of his ascent (from mule driver to
national hero) and his critical importance to the Independence movement (first
as a general, and then as a political leader). Still more impressive to Vincent
than the fact of these accomplishments is how Guerrero used his power once in
office to champion the rights of Mexico's racial minorities, demonstrated most
forcefully by his 1829 presidential edict abolishing slavery. It is worth noting,
however-as Vincent does-that Guerrero bowed to pressure from irate Texas
slaveowners and exempted them from this decree.
Guerrero's commitment to racial equality stemmed in part from his own expe-
riences as a mestzzo-of mixed Spanish, indigenous, and African heritage-and
Vincent uses his subject's background as a frame through which to consider the
complicated question of race in modern Mexico. The author is particularly in-
terested in illuminating the experiences of Afro-Mexicans, descendants of the
estimated 300,00o Africans brought to New Spain, whose role in the Indepen-
dence movement and the creation of the new republic has been overlooked. He
argues persuasively for their importance in the armed struggle against the Span-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed April 21, 2014.