Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2018

Document Type

Restricted Thesis - USF access only

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Lorenzo Covarrubias


Mexico is a country within Latin America that has continuously denied the existence of people of African descent. The legacy of slavery in Mexico has caused people of African descent to suffer constant violations of human rights and structural inequality. These conditions keeps Afro-Mexican people invisible, isolated and in deep poverty in the Costa Chica of Guerrero and Oaxaca. For most, the only option to get out of that deep poverty is to emigrate. Since the 1980s Afro-Mexicans have built intimate migrant communities in California, Illinois, and North Carolina. At first glance, many Americans and non-Black mestizo Mexicans do not recognize Costeño Afromexicanos as Mexican. Afro-Mexicans are often mistaken for other groups of African heritage, like Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans. These experiences add to the feeling of invisibility that Afro-Mexican communities experience and fight against in Mexico that continues when they arrive in the United States. This ethnography gives detailed account of Afro-Mexican migrant life in Santa Ana, California, and sheds light on the strategies they have created to maintain and reproduce their identity.

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