is an intern at The Root and senior journalism major at Howard University.
More than 200 Afro-Mexican communities lie nestled between Acapulco and Puerto Escondido, in what is commonly known as the "Costa Chica" area of Mexico. Many once lived in redondos, round, wattle-and-daub houses with conical, palm-frond roofs. The redondo pictured here is believed to be the last one in the state of Oaxaca.
Doña Julia Magallón Noyola lives in the largely Afro-Mexican community of San Nicolás, where for a long time there were only dirt roads. "So, yes, I've experienced discrimination because I'm black," she said. "We had nothing."
Students from a local primary school in the Costa Chica learn a dance in preparation for a national holiday. The first school opened in this community about 20 years ago.
Alicia Acoste Reyes and her granddaughter in Santiago, Tapextla, an area in the Costa Chica.
Juan Benny Vega relaxes outside his DVD rental store in the town of Huehuetan, a Costa Chica community.
Paulino Noyola Rodríguez prepares to do roof repairs at home in Santiago, Tapextla.
Appearance-wise, Afro-Mexicans, much like African Americans, run the gamut but with a Mexican flavor. A good number of people look quite African, a few like quite light-skinned mestizos (mixed) with more European and indigenous ancestry. And there’s every variation in between. They may or may not consider themselves black.
Most Afro-Mexicans in the Costa Chica are descended from people imported in the 16th to 18th centuries as slaves. Here, Filemón Marín Magallón is pictured with his family.
Development has brought change. Just after World War II, the Costa Chica town of Cuajinicuilapa was 90 percent Afro-Mexican, and everyone lived in African-style redondos. Today, it's a bustling market town that's about 65 percent Afro-Mexican.