The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

UTA professor teaches students about Diez y Seis, Mexico on SE

By Victoria Barry and Karen Gavis

Mexican Independence Day is a full day of activities, a University of Texas at Arlington history professor told SE students Sept. 16.

Speaker Walter Richmond, University of Texas at Arlington history professor and author of The Mexican Nation: Historical Continuity and Modern Change, said Mexican Independence Day is the most important holiday in Mexico because it represents freedom from Spanish rule.

Richmond compared the celebration to New Year’s.

“It really begins the 15th at midnight,” he said. “Miguel Hidalgo delivered a speech on that day to a group of people ready for a change. They wanted independence from Spain.”

Richmond then emphasized the words Hidalgo spoke in 1810, “Death to bad government!”

He said Mexican Creoles were the most eager for independence because they wanted free trade, the ability to control their own destinies and an open political system.

Richmond said Mexico had not one war but a series of wars, something the Mexicans did on their own without any help from allies.

“During the struggle, there was a great loss of life,” he said. “Six hundred thousand Mexicans died during the War of Independence.”

The 11-year war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Cordoba in September 1821, but he said Spain didn’t recognize the independence of Mexico until 1838. Sept. 16 is the day Mexicans gather to celebrate and commemorate their declaration of independence from Spain.

Tension still exists between Spain and Mexico. Richmond recalled the first time he traveled to Spain speaking Spanish with a Mexican accent.

“They [Spanish agents] asked me if I had any marijuana,” he said.

After Richmond answered “no,” the agents told him, “We know that all Mexicans smoke marijuana.”

SE student Brandy Griffith attended the lecture on the recommendation of Spanish assistant professor Ivan Miño and found the speech informative.

“That was a lot of men to lose,” she said.

SE student Florence Ighedosa said her sociology teacher told her many people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but it’s not.

“It’s nice to know what everything is about,” she said.

El Patio Flamenco dance group performed a combination of flamenco music and dance for the event’s finale. Guitarist David Quintana said the music is from Spanish Gypsies. His wife, Isabel Clavel, incorporated castanets as well as clapping into her dance while her husband played the guitar. Clavel brought a few apprehensive volunteers on stage “to learn the basics.”

Gustavo Leon, one of the stage volunteers, said the dancing was fun.

“It was nerve-racking at first,” he said. ”But what the heck. I live to perform.”

Student Joseph Delmar, an audience member, said it was a new experience for him.

“I’ve never seen it in person,” he said.

Brandy Griffin enjoyed learning the dance steps.

“I like the music,” she said. “I like the dancing.”

Clavel sang a couple of songs in a Spanish-style originating from the Gypsies, SE Spanish assistant professor Ivan Miño said.

“They are singing in a way that is called canto hondo,” he said. “It means deep song. The singer sings from the depths of their heart and soul.”

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