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Execution of an African-American for Rape


[AFRICAN-AMERICANS]. UNITED STATES. ARMY. Vera Cruz, April 1847. General Orders 101. Headquarters of the Army. Vera Cruz, April 9, 1847. Broadside in two columns: 21 x 19 cm. Very fine. Rare. No copies on OCLC, although Garrett & Goodwin, pp. 386-387, list a different edition.

First edition. Eberstadt 244.

A trial of “a free man of color, a resident and citizen of the United States of America” named Isaac Kirk for the rape and robbery of a Mexican woman, María Antonia Gallegas, which occurred on a road between the Malibrán ruins and La Botánica, her house. Although Kirk pleaded not guilty he was sentenced to be hanged on April 10 near the gate of La Merced. Reportedly, quite a crowd showed up to witness the event.

An extremely rare look into the life and role of an African-American who accompanied the army. Though many such people went into Mexico during the invasions, little is known about any of them. See “African-Americans” in The Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War, Vol. I, pp. 5-6.


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