Dr. Miguel Valerio is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Washington University in St. Louis.
In this talk, Dr. Valerio will discuss several colonial texts from Mexico that describe the performance of festive black kings and queens by Afro-Mexicans between 1539 and 1640, the only period for which we have record of this performative genre in colonial Mexico. This talk first exposes on the genealogy of this tradition among Afrodescendants in the Black Atlantic and discuss Mexico’s place in it. It will then discuss the few Mexican texts that describe Afro-Mexicans performing “con su rey y reina” [with their king and queen] in colonial Mexico City for some of the city’s most lavish festivals during this period. The conclusion will discuss the cultural, social, political significance of this performance for colonial Afro-Mexicans in the broader schema of their colonial lives and for understanding colonial black culture in general.