Mar 07, 2013
African Americans and their contributions to New Mexico history is the subject of a new exhibit at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.
The exhibit, called “New Mexico’s African American Legacy: Visible, Vital, Valuable” is on display in the museum’s North Corridor through Sept. 15. A reception is planned for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 21. Admission to the reception only is free.
The exhibit, presented by the African American Museum and Cultural Center (AAMCC) of New Mexico in Albuquerque, focuses on some of the first African American families that settled in different communities around the state.
A large portion of the exhibit features the history of African Americans in Las Cruces, including some of the original families, Lincoln High School, Booker T. Washington School, churches, homesteads and the Doña Ana Branch of the NAACP, which was chartered in the 1930s. The Las Cruces portion of the exhibit was curated by Clarence Fielder and Terry Moody.
The rest of the exhibit takes a look at the western migration of African Americans to New Mexico, patterns of segregation and integration, as well as highlighting some of the original families, social organizations and churches.
The mission of the AAMCC is to increase awareness and understanding of the contributions of people of African descent with emphasis on New Mexico and the Southwest. African Americans have been in the territory of New Mexico since the Spaniards came with African slaves. African Americans seeking greater freedoms and opportunities migrated to the state and became intricately woven into the history of the territory and state.