Dear Campus Community:
Today is Cinco de Mayo – a day that sometimes gives rise to hurtful stereotypes due to a lack of understanding. Many people are misinformed about the history of Mexico. To ensure that our F&M community understands the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo, I am offering here a quick history lesson.
CINCO DE MAYO IS NOT MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY (#reclaimcinco)
The actual Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of a Mexican battalion against the French military in 1862 near the city of Puebla in the state of Puebla.
This Battle of Puebla was seen as a major victory by Mexican nationalists because it stopped the French troops from invading and marching into Mexico City. The victory also strengthened the sense of national unity. However, France did return with more troops and ruled over Mexico from 1864-1867. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cinco-de-mayo
As you can see, Cinco de Mayo is not a Mexican national holiday. However, there are celebrations to commemorate the day that take place primarily in the state of Puebla. https://www.nbcchicago.com/entertainment/the-scene/5-facts-about-cinco-de-mayos-history-and-meaning/2501833/
Of course there is much more to this history in academic resources, and I hope you take advantage of opportunities to learn more about the rich history of Mexico.
Below is a poster designed and distributed by #reclaimcinco that offers alternative ways to appreciate and celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Enjoy the day,
Gretchel Hathaway, P’07
Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion