The San Patricios Brigade is one of my favorite topics in bars and classrooms. On St. Patrick's Days I've asked bar patrons who were celebrating St. Pat's with beers if they knew about La Brigada; in all of my years of polling, only one red-haired American ever did. The majority of the others didn't look pleased nor thank me for filling out their historical ignorance about an ignored period of their homeland's past.
And each Sept. in my primary classrooms I've introduced the history of the Irish immigrants who fought on the side of Mexico in the War to Steal the SW from Underdeveloped Mexico. It quickly made my students more historically aware than most Anglo American adults. About their own country's history. The children were always greatly affected, by the brutality perpetrated against those white immigrants and by their solidarity with their Mexican ancestors.
It doesn't seem ironic to me that Hispanic Hispanic Heritage Month in this country, officially celebrated from Sept 15-Oct.15. doesn't coincide with Mexico's annual recognition of The San Patricio Brigade earlier in Sept. It seems in keeping with typical American denial of dismal historical crimes.
After my reading/singing of my fantasy novel at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque* will follow a special event. La Bloga has written before about this event that is greatly celebrated in Mexico and Ireland. In this past post two significant books were reviewed, Irish Soldiers of Mexico and Molly Malone and the San Patricios, that describe the events leading to the torture, beatings, brandings and hangings of those Irish-American heroes. You can read additional background info from The Society for Irish Latin American.Studies, among others.
As important to read about and contemplate as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, it's something every American should know, not just those of us of Spanish-speaking heritage or seven-year-old Mexican immigrant children, or those in Ireland or Mexico. Below is the information from NHCC on the Albuquerque commemoration:
El Día de los San Patricios
Saturday, September 29th at 4:00 pm
Wells Fargo Auditorium
National Hispanic Cultural Center
For the third year, the NHCC commemorates the courage of the St. Patrick’s Battalion whose soldiers fought for Mexico, forging strong ties between Ireland and Mexico that continue to this day. During the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48, more than five hundred immigrant soldiers, mostly Irish, deserted the U.S. Army and joined forces with Mexico. These men became known as the San Patricios. Every year this event is commemorated in Mexico and in Ireland at the highest levels of government.
A lecture by UNM Professor Caleb Richardson, live music by Gerry Muissener and Chuy Martinez and a screening of The San Patricios: the Tragic Story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a video documentary by Mark Day will be offered to the public free of charge by the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Wells Fargo Auditorium on Saturday Sept. 29th at 4 PM.
Dr. Caleb Richardson is an expert on Irish, British, and European history and will give his perspective on the reasons for the formation of the St. Patrick’s Battalion during the U.S.-Mexican War. Gerry Muissener of the Irish American Society will perform live music as will Chuy Martinez of Los Trinos.
Commenting on the Mark Day film, historian Howard Zinn said, “Absolutely enthralling. Dynamite material. It is a perfect example of historical amnesia in America that this story is virtually unknown to every American. A superb job.” Howard Zinn author of A People’s History of the United States. For more information, call Greta Pullen at 505-724-4752 or Laura Bonar at 505-352-1236.
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* LaBloga-ero Rudy Ch. Garcia will do a reading & signing of his Chicano fantasy novel tomorrow Sat. Sept. 29th at 2:00pm in the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. SW, in Albuquerque. Please inform anyone in that area that you think might be interested. The Closet of Discarded Dreams on sale for $16. (NHCC contact Greta Pullen 505-724-4752)