In Mexico, from small pueblos (villages) to large ciudades (cities), most all have calles (streets) named Morelos and Hidalgo — some, like Oaxaca, have more than one, which can be very confusing when trying to find an address, to say the least! The names Vicario and Ortiz de Domínguez aren’t nearly so commonplace.
However, two of the women (among countless unsung heroines) who played a major role in the struggle for independence from Spain were Leona Vicario and Josefa Ortiz Domínguez. In a fitting tribute to their importance to the Independence movement, their giant portraits currently hang on the outside wall of the Municipal Building overlooking the Plaza de la Danza, along with those of Miguel Hidalgo de Costilla and José María Morelos y Pavón.
Leona Vicario, 1789-1842
Leona Vicario provided money and medical support, helped fugitives, and served as a messenger. After escaping from prison, she helped her husband, Andrés Quintana Roo, plan strategies on the battle field.
Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, 1773-1829
Confined to house arrest after a co-conspirator betrayed the upcoming plans for revolt by the Independence movement, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez was able to smuggle a message out, warning of the betrayal.
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, 1753-1811
As a result, in the early morning of September 16, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the church bells in Dolores, rallying the rebels, and issuing, what has come to be known as Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), the signal to begin the War of Independence from Spain. It is an event that is recreated all over Mexico at 11 PM on September 15. (See the link re why it isn’t done in the early morning of September 16.)
José María Morelos y Pavón, 1765-1815
The last portrait on the wall is that of José María Morelos y Pavón, of Afro-mestizo heritage, and, like Hidalgo, also a priest. He was a capable military commander who assumed leadership of the independence movement after Hidalgo was executed. For a local connection, on November 25, 1812, in what is thought of as a brilliant victory, Morelos, along with the support of Mariano Matamoros and Miguel Bravo, took the city of Oaxaca. Fittingly, the streets Morelos and Matamoros run parallel and M. Bravo intersects them just a few blocks from the Municipal Building and the Plaza de la Danza.
(ps) These portraits are painted directly on fine mesh screen… thus, the window bars showing through.
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