The Metro: Cinco de Mayo history and celebrations in Southwest Detroit

WSU professor Reyna Esquivel-King joined the show to talk Cinco de Mayo history. Also, Michael Reyes of We Are Culture Creators talks about Fiesta Detroit.

Southwest Detroit’s annual Cinco de Mayo festival, “Fiesta Detroit,” is taking place Friday to Sunday, May 3-5, 2024.

Southwest Detroit’s annual Cinco de Mayo festival, “Fiesta Detroit,” is taking place Friday to Sunday, May 3-5, 2024.

This Sunday is Cinco de Mayo, a day that commemorates a significant event in Mexican history. 

On May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army defeated the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. The victory boosted morale and helped establish a sense of national unity in Mexico.

Assistant Professor of History at Wayne State University Reyna Esquivel-King  joined The Metro on Friday to help us learn more about Cinco De Mayo’s history.

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“The French actually occupied Mexico from 1863 to around 1867, when Benito Juarez the liberal took up the presidency,” Esquivel-King said. “So the Battle of Puebla is important because it does show a stand up to fight imperialism and colonialism.”  

While it’s not widely celebrated in Mexico, Mexicantown in Southwest Detroit has a huge celebration and historic parade. 

A part of the celebration in Southwest, happening this Friday through Sunday, is Fiesta Detroit. Co-founder and Director of We Are Culture Creators Michael Reyes also joined the show to talk about the event. 

Reyes, who has attended the parade and celebrations in Southwest since he was a kid, says the festival builds on the Cinco de Mayo celebration started by the Mexican Patriotic Committee. 

“[The Mexican Patriotic Committee] have a festival that takes place on 21st Street, over near like Vernor in that area, Bagley. And that’s the more traditional festival right, and we all grew up kind of like seeing that space,” Reyes said. “We wanted to do something that was geared more towards Gen Z, more towards like, maybe some of the younger millennials.”

Use the media player above to hear the full interviews with Esquivel-King and Reyes on “The Metro.”

 More headlines from The Metro on May 3, 2024:

  • Artist Tiff Massey joined the show to talk about her new exhibit opening Sunday, 7 Mile + Livernois, featuring new sculptures commissioned by the Detroit Institute of Arts, in conversation with works by several other artists from the museum’s collection. 
  • This month, HATCH Art will host a new exhibition titled, “AI and the Creator – is it Art?” Judi Bommarito, the show’s curator and an instructor at the College for Creative Studies, joined the show to talk about it.
  • Studyus Monday is a boutique apparel brand based in Livonia that has designed and created a new fashion line. Next week they’re inviting the community to learn more about their new changes and the work being done in the production house. The company’s COO and Head of Apparel Krissy Huffman-Carter and Founder and CEO Nawal Alsaeed joined the show to discuss the changes.

Listen to The Metro weekdays from 11 a.m. to noon ET on 101.9 FM and streaming on-demand.

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