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Kelly Lytle Hernández: Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands

How Change Comes: Knowledge + Justice: Kelly Lytle Hernández

Bad Mexicans:

Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands


Kelly Lytle Hernández reframes our understanding of U.S. history in this talk drawn from her new book, a groundbreaking narrative of revolution in the borderlands. Bad Mexicans tells the dramatic story of the magonistas, the migrant rebels who sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution from the United States. Led by a brilliant but ill-tempered radical named Ricardo Flores Magón, the magonistas were a motley band of journalists, miners, migrant workers, and more, who organized thousands of Mexican workers―and American dissidents―to their cause. Determined to oust Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz, who encouraged the plunder of his country by U.S. imperialists such as Guggenheim and Rockefeller, the rebels had to outrun and outsmart the swarm of U.S. authorities vested in protecting the Diaz regime. The U.S. Departments of War, State, Treasury, and Justice as well as police, sheriffs, and spies, hunted the magonistas across the country. Capturing Ricardo Flores Magón was one of the FBI’s first cases.