In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that all people who were enslaved in the U.S. would be free. Some states, however, took much longer to free people, which led to a great escape...
...to Mexico. Texas was one of the last states to abolish slavery in 1865. As it was a short distance from Mexico, which outlawed slavery in 1829, many enslaved African and Afro-Indigenous people decided to risk everything and make the trip across the Rio Grande to freedom.
It’s estimated that around 10,000 enslaved people escaped to Mexico from the U.S., which was significantly less than the estimated nearly 100,000 that went north. The most well-known was a man called Joe, who later fought and was one of the few survivors in the Battle of the Alamo.
Many of the escapees settled in a village now known as Nacimiento de los Negros. Like many Black people in the U.S., the people in the village honor their ancestors with celebrations on Juneteenth (June 19th), the day commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people in Texas.