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There are now 42 million people who identify as Black or African American living in America, making up 12% of the total population. According to the most recent American Community Survey, the Black population in new mexico is 37,911 - at 1.8% of the total population of new mexico. We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. On March 27, 1960, in the small southeastern New Mexico town of Hobbs, college-age African Americans staged a sit-in at the McLellan store’s soda fountain. Their action came just less than two months after the more well-known sit-in at Greensboro, North Carolina. The local NAACP chapter (by the early 1960s, Hobbs, Roswell, Carlsbad, and Las.
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Although the national Chicano movement formed in the context of the gains made by African American civil rights activists in the early 1950s and Alianza followed some of the tactics initiated by black civil rights leaders, in New Mexico black civil rights advocates followed the lead of hispano activists. Such was the case due to the small number of African Americans in New Mexico. By some estimates, they never accounted for more than three percent of the state’s population during the period between 1950 and 1970.
Historian George M. Cooper has suggested that the 1954 Brown v. Board decision was not a significant watershed for New Mexico’s African American communities precisely because their numbers were so small. Not only were they few in number, but they were spread out in cities and towns throughout the state. Their separation meant that presenting a unified front was more difficult than was the case for nuevomexicanos or for African American activists in the Deep South.
Additionally, as mentioned in the introduction, many New Mexican towns began to integrate schools prior to Brown v. Board. In Hobbs and Carlsbad, accreditation and a desire to conserve municipal funds were central to that decision.
In Albuquerque, the state’s largest city with the largest percentage of African American residents, de jure segregation of schools had never existed. In his 1969 report on blacks in Albuquerque, activist and Black Power advocate Roger W. Banks declared that the lack of segregated schools was not due to Albuquerque residents’ tendency toward integration. On the contrary, in the 1930s Albuquerque Public Schools had attempted to open a separate school for the city’s African American children but black families “refused this invitation to segregate themselves.”16
Black students in Albuquerque Public Schools sat at the back of classrooms and were forced to line up separately during commencement ceremonies. They were placed as a group at the center of the graduation procession to prevent them from leading their graduating class into or out of the arena in which the ceremonies were held.
Banks argued that Albuquerque’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was a defensive, rather than an offensive, organization. It had been founded in 1915 to address the concerns of the local black community; access to education was among the first issues addressed. That same year, the NAACP challenged the University of New Mexico’s policy of excluding African Americans by funding Birdie Hardin’s admission application. Hardin’s application was rejected, but through the organization’s persistence, Romero Lewis became the first black student of UNM in 1921.
In the late-1940s, UNM became the focal point of a campaign to end racial discrimination in Albuquerque. On September 12, 1947, the editor of the student newspaper, The New Mexico Lobo, sent black student George Long
A native of Alabama, Long met Albuquerque's Ernie Pyle during their World War II service in Okinawa. Pyle convinced Long to enroll in the University of New Mexico following the war. Although he originally planned to pursue a degree in Education, his activism to desegregate Albuquerque restaurants and businesses redirected him toward UNM's Law program. With the help of other members of the(..)'>George Long and a reporter to Oklahoma Joe’s, a café near campus. The wait staff at the café refused service to the pair on the basis of Long’s race, and the Lobo published an account of the incident in its September 19 issue. The publicity given to Long’s experience, including a follow-up letter to the editor in the September 23Lobo, initiated events that resulted in the passage of Albuquerque’s anti-discrimination ordinance in 1952.
In the fall 1953 edition of the NAACP publication, Crisis, Long published an account of what had been dubbed “The George Long Incident.” Following the Lobo’s report, “a sizable group of irate students on campus” came together to demand that the student council convene to take action. When a special session of the student council met on September 18, the leaders declined to act on the issue of racial discrimination due to the “unimportance” of the issue, yet they did create a special investigation committee to further study the problem.17
Joe Fiensiler, owner of Oklahoma Joe’s, justified the actions of his staff by claiming that the café’s policy was in accordance with the practices of UNM fraternities. The investigating committee and student council seemed content with his response, but a majority of the student body refused to let the matter die. A voluntary student boycott of Oklahoma Joe’s, and subsequently a nearby Walgreens store, inspired a temporary change in the two establishments’ policies.
During the Walgreens boycott in January 1948, African American participants organized a student chapter of the NAACP. Herbert Wright
Wright is a former Civil Rights Activist and active NAACP member, noted for his 1960 debate with Malcolm X at Yale Law School.'>Herbert Wright, who later became the NAACP’s national youth director, became the chapter’s first president.
Wright and other members of the student chapter quickly realized that the boycott’s success was limited. Only two businesses had been impacted, and they had not committed to long-term anti-discrimination policies. Wright proposed a campaign for a city-wide anti-discrimination ordinance, based on similar legislation that had already been established in Portland, Oregon. With the support of the Albuquerque NAACP, the students worked to adjust the Portland law to the needs of Albuquerque.
Between June of 1948 and February of 1952, when the Albuquerque city council adopted the anti-discrimination ordinance, Wright and NAACP supporters worked tirelessly to advocate for the measure. Groups like the Ministerial Alliance, the G. I. Forum, labor unions, and the Catholic Archdiocese added their support for the legislation. Based on city council suggestions, Long, who had entered UNM’s law school, redrafted the ordinance several times before a final version was accepted.
Even after the wording had been finetuned, hurdles remained. In mid-October 1950 the city council appointed a special committee to investigate the extent of discrimination in Albuquerque. When the committee’s report reached the city council in November of 1951, it had concluded that discrimination in public places was minimal except “as regards members of the Negro race.”18 Committee members also reported that discrimination against African Americans was increasing and most members of the community supported the proposed legislation.
Despite a few impassioned speeches delivered in opposition to the measure during public readings of the bill, the ordinance became law on February 15, 1952. In its final form, the ordinance “prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin or ancestry” in “places of public accommodation.”19 Violators of the law were to be charged with a misdemeanor and fined between one hundred and three hundred dollars, depending on the severity of the offense.
By Long’s own account, within the first two years of the ordinance’s passage the vast majority of local businesses complied with its provisions, although there previously “were numerous public places that staunchly refused to serve Negroes no matter how many appeals were made to serve them.”20 In his 1953 article, he also wrote that the struggle was far from over. Equal rights in terms of employment and housing had not yet been accomplished for African Americans in New Mexico. Indeed, written covenants in many of Albuquerque’s subdivisions prohibited black residents and they remained on the books into the 1970s.
The South Broadway region of the city, also known as Census Tract Thirteen, was the place that most of the city’s African Americans inhabited. Most of them were of the working class, but some opened businesses including barber shops, cleaners, shoeshine parlors, and nightclubs. The first black church, the Grant Chapel AME Church
Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church was the first black church in New Mexico.'>Grant Chapel AME Church, was also located there.
Activist Roger W. Banks referred to the South Broadway neighborhood as a space “between the tracks and the freeway.” Interstate 25 marked its eastern edge while the western border was defined by the railroad tracks that ran south of the present-day Alvarado transit center in downtown Albuquerque. Although Banks recognized the accomplishments achieved by the local NAACP, he also emphasized the fact that the anti-discrimination ordinance addressed middle-class concerns without taking the plight of working class blacks into consideration.
Later analysts cite African Americans’ small numbers in explaining the relatively low profile of their activism in New Mexico during the civil rights era. Banks’ focus on class divisions, however, posits an alternate interpretation. He acknowledges that African Americans’ meager numbers kept them from being fully included in New Mexico’s political system. As the NAACP assumed a more active profile in Albuquerque during the 1950s, however, blacks in other towns in the state continued to face discrimination on a daily basis—especially in Little Texas
Section of the Llano Estacado in east-central and southeastern New Mexico that shares cultural ties with west Texas. Texan cattlemen moved into the region in the late 1800s, and Texan oil companies dominated the region’s economy during the first half of the twentieth century.'>Little Texas.
Middle class blacks in Albuquerque had “become culturally, emotionally, economically, and geographically part of the white community,” according to Banks.21 Because of their economic affinity with whites and nuevomexicanos, they were not in a position to address the concerns of working class African Americans who comprised the majority of New Mexico’s black community.
Among the concerns of working class African Americans were the desire to find gainful employment, receive educational opportunities, and thus break the cycle of poverty. Such concerns prevented African Americans in Census Tract Thirteen from joining Albuquerque’s social and political circles in the way that middle class blacks had done. For most of the neighborhood’s residents, poverty and transience defined daily life.
National civil rights militancy, including events in Watts, Atlanta, Washington, D.C, and Alianza’s occupation of sections of the Carson National Forest, soured white Albuquerque residents’ opinions of their African American neighbors in the mid-1960s. As a result of such perceptions, opportunities for education, decent housing, and employment diminished in Albuquerque during the 1960s. Throughout that decade, the unemployment rate for African Americans hovered at about eight percent—a figure that was twice that of the white unemployment rate.
In 1969, Banks painted a picture of Albuquerque blacks who were becoming increasingly frustrated with negative perceptions of them based on national events rather than anything they had actually done or said. His purpose was to advocate for the rise of more militant, Black Power actions in Albuquerque, and the problems he highlighted in his report were very real. Many African Americans in New Mexico took public action to alleviate the situation, and in 1963 the Albuquerque city council passed a Fair Housing Practices law to end discriminatory practices like the creation of covenants and riders that banned blacks from certain neighborhoods.
On March 27, 1960, in the small southeastern New Mexico town of Hobbs, college-age African Americans staged a sit-in at the McLellan store’s soda fountain. Their action came just less than two months after the more well-known sit-in at Greensboro, North Carolina. The local NAACP chapter (by the early 1960s, Hobbs, Roswell, Carlsbad, and Las Cruces also had an NAACP presence) supported legal actions, rather than public protest or demonstrations. Despite the lack of other civil rights organizations, like the Urban League or the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), New Mexican blacks demonstrated when opportunities arose.
The Hobbs sit-in only lasted for about fifteen minutes, but it generated a discussion about race and discrimination. Bud Peters, the manager on duty at the McLellan store, reported that “a couple of white customers left and that two white women got up and stood behind their husbands while the blacks remained at the counter.”22
As historian George M. Cooper has pointed out, the coverage of the sit-in by the Hobbs Daily News-Sun was troubling at best. A brief account of the demonstration occupied the front page spot that was typically reserved for the lead story. The article did not include a headline. Adjacent to it on the page, an Associate Press release appeared, also with no headline, which recounted Ku Klux Klan retaliation against protesters in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. Cooper concludes that the juxtaposition was “more of a warning to the students who participated in the sit-in at Hobbs than a serious attempt at reportage.”23
The situation in Hobbs highlighted a reality that all African Americans understood well in the early 1960s. The end of school segregation and the proposal of anti-discrimination ordinances were only first steps toward full equality before the law. Those who had staged the sit-in joined members of the Hobbs NAACP in advocating for legislation against discrimination at the municipal level. Their struggle eventually resulted in the eventual integration of Hobbs at the social level a few years later. For example, the requirement that African Americans enter the homes of whites through separate entrances was invalidated through such efforts.
Tensions between Chicano and African American Activists also characterized the period between 1950 and 1970. Despite the presence of Dr. Alton Davis, the black president of the American Emancipation Centennial, as the keynote speaker of Alianza’s first annual meeting and Tijerina’s work with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Poor People’s Campaign, many nuevomexicanos believed that the subjugation of African Americans was not the same as the oppression that they faced themselves.
In a 2008 comment, meant to capture the feeling of the previous generation, Fernando C. de Baca remarked: “The truth is that Hispanics came here as conquerors, African Americans came here as slaves. . . . Hispanics consider themselves above blacks.”24 Although C. de Baca certainly did not speak for all nuevomexicanos of his father’s generation, his comment captures the sense of distrust that remained between African Americans and hispanos in New Mexico, even as some individuals of the two ethnic groups tried to foster cooperation in support of civil rights for all.
Placed in the context of their extremely small numbers, the civil rights achievements of African American activists in New Mexico are striking. Unfortunately, their struggle and the struggle of Chicanos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women, and LGBT people for equality before the law continues.
Civil Rights Struggle Continues
with Xeturah Woodley, Ph.D.
The Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe is the oldest government building in the nation. The Spanish built it as part of a fortress during the winter of 1609-1610. In 1909, it was converted to the Palace of the Governors History Museum which houses exhibits on Spanish, Mexican, and American colonization dating back to the late 1500’s.
The Rio Grande, New Mexico’s longest river, running through the entire length of the state.
Las Cruces makes the world’s largest enchilada the first weekend in October at the “Whole Enchilada Fiesta.”
Santa Fe is the highest capital city in the United States at 7,000 feet above sea level.
The nation’s oldest surviving well along the Santa Fe Trail is Hay Springs Well in Las Vegas.
Albuquerque hosts the world’s largest hot air balloon festival the first weekend in October.
In Carrizozo, it is forbidden for a female to appear unshaven in public.
The leaves of the Yucca, New Mexico’s state flower, can be used to make rope, baskets and sandals. Elite matchmaking near jesup indiana.
The World Shovel Race Championships take place every winter at Angel Fire Resort.
Albuquerque features the American International Rattlesnake Museum, where you will not only receive an education about these creepy critters, but also a number of live specimens, including a rare albino rattlesnake.
Elizabethtown, now a ghost town in Colfax County, was the first incorporated town in New Mexico.
Located in a collapsed lave tube, the Bandera Ice Cave’s temperature never rises above freezing. At the bottom of the 75 foot deep cave, the ice floor is 20 feet thick, believed to date back to 1100 B.C.
Las Vegas was the largest city in New Mexico at the turn of the 20th century. It was established long before its Nevada counterpart.
Blue Hole, an 81-foot deep natural artesian spring in Santa Rosa, is a favorite location for scuba divers. It’s 4,600 feet above sea level, making the bottom an equivalent of nearly 100 feet of depth in the ocean.
In some isolated villages in New Mexico, such as Truchas, Chimayo’, and Coyote in the north-central part of the state, some descendants of Spanish conquistadors still speak a form of 16th century Spanish used nowhere else in the world today.
White Sands National Monument is a desert, not of sand, but of gleaming white gypsum crystals.
Northeast New Mexico has more than 1,000 buildings listed on the National Historic Register.
Doc Holliday operated a dental office and a saloon and gambling hall in Las Vegas before moving on to Tombstone.
White Sands, New Mexico
The world’s first Atomic Bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945 on the White Sands Testing Range near Alamogordo. Designed and manufactured in Los Alamos, the area of the first boming site is today known as the Trinity Site.
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The first gold strike in the Old West was made by Jose Ortiz in 1832 south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in what would quickly become the boom town of Delores.
Hatch, New Mexico is known as the “Green Chile capital of the world”.
Standing on the crest of 8,182-foot Capulin Volcano in Union County, you can see five states: New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Kansas!
More than 500, 100-million-year-old dinosaur footprints have been identified and preserved at Clayton Lake State Park.
More than 25,000 Ancient Puebloans sites have been identified in New Mexico by archeologists. The Ancient Puebloans, an amazing civilization who were the ancestors of the Pueblo, where around for 1300 years. Their great classical period lasted from 1100-1300 AD.
New Mexico has seven National Forests including the nation’s largest, 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest which includes the Gila Wilderness. Though many people picture New Mexico as desert terrain, ¼ of the state is actually filled with forests.
Las Vegas was New Mexico’s first territorial capital (for one day).
Bob Wills cut hair in a barber shop in Roy, New Mexico in his pre-Texas Playboys music days.
In 1950 the little cub that became the National Fire Safety symbol, Smokey the Bear, was found trapped in a tree when his home in Lincoln National Forest was destroyed by fire.
There are 19 Pueblo groups in New Mexico, speaking four distinct languages. The Pueblo people of the southwest have lived in the same location longer than any other culture in the Nation.
The Navajo, are the United State’s largest Native American Group, with 78,000 members in New Mexico, and a reservation that covers 14 million Acres.
One out of three families in New Mexico speak Spanish at home.
Las Vegas, in San Miguel County, has 900 buildings in nine historic districts on the National Registry — more than any city in the United States!
The Cleveland Roller Mill in Mora County was the last flour mill to be built in New Mexico, the last to stop running and the only roller mill in New Mexico with its original milling works.
The NRA Whittington Center in Colfax County is the most comprehensive shooting facility in the United States with 14 ranges and service facilities for all shooting disciplines. National Championship events are held annually.
At Lake Valley, miners discovered silver in veins so pure that the metal could be sawn off in blocks, instead of having to be dug out by traditional methods.
Las Vegas provided 21 Rough Riders to Teddy Roosevelt in 1898, most of whom were at his side during the famed charge up San Juan Hill. The town hosted the first Rough Riders Reunion — attended by the soon-to-be President himself. Reunions continued until the 1960s.
In Las Cruces, it is against the law to carry a lunch box down Main Street.
The father of modern rocketry Massachusetts scientist Robert Goddard whom some called a crackpot, came to New Mexico in 1930 to test rocket-ship models. From those humble beginnings the aerospace industry became one of New Mexico’s leading industries.
The world’s largest camping facility, southwest of Cimarron, is where more than 18,000 scouts come from all over the world each year to enjoy treks and a variety of programs at Philmont Scout Ranch.
After WWII Los Alamos and Albuquerque had many new laboratories. Hundreds of highly educated Scientists and Engineers moved in the state. New Mexico soon had a higher percentage of people with Ph.D.s than any other state.
In New Mexico, it is against the law to dance around a Sombrero.
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Thomas Edward “Black Jack” Ketchum is the only person hanged in Union County. He is also the only person hanged in New Mexico for the capital offence of “felonious assault upon a railway train.” The law was found to be unconstitutional, but after the hanging, unfortunately for Ketchum. Poor Black Jack is the only example in the annals of American jurisprudence in which the culprit was decapitated during a judicial hanging. There was one other example, in England, in 1601.
African American Dating Hobbs Nm Real Estate
Public education was almost non-existent in New Mexico until the end of the 19th century. As late as 1888 there was not a single public college or high school in the entire territory.