Indigenous Resistance, North and South
Central American Resistance
In the Twentieth century our attention turns to Central America, where modern-day rebels taking the names of past
heroes continued the struggle for land and justice. Throughout the Guatemalan highlands and Salvadoran mountains,
communities of resistance continued the struggle that begun over five hundred years ago.Resistance TodayOne example among many is the struggle to save the rainforest of Brazil. All of the elements of the first invasion are
being re-enacted there. Its final fate has become important to the whole world as scientists are realizing the sustaining
effect that the world’s largest forest has on the ecosphere. Who wins that struggle may well determine the fate of the
The selections that follow try to inspire hope; demonstrate that courage was not the sole domain of men or famous
leaders; give voice to the anonymous bands of rebels whose names are lost to us, but whose deeds remain; and show
that defeat of the rebels has never been final, but has only served to push history to the next state where resistance
emerges once again. Whatever measure of liberty or civil rights that we enjoy today was, in large part, won by these
We have certainly inherited the winds of destruction, but we are also free to claim the legacy of resistance. Untold
people have been killed but multitudes have risen up to take their places.
American Revolutions and Resistance
Quickly brainstorm a list of events and people that come to mind when you think of revolution in the Americas. Discuss in a group or individually write about your present knowledge of resistance and revolution. Review what you learned in school about revolutionaries in the United States, in Latin America, and among “minorities” on this continent. Or you might sketch a timeline to indicate any revolutions or rebellions you can remember and when they happened.
- What would be your rationale for resisting?
- How would you go about planning your resistance?
- What form would your resistance take?
- What might be some differences, if any, between resistance and spontaneous revolts?
- What is the connection between revolt and revolution?
- How many of these individuals appear in traditional textbooks?
- How is your understanding o history altered when you read about people such as these who have been significant in resistance and yet have never been recognized for their involvement in history?
- Why may many of us not have heard of these significant persons in American history?
Mary Church Terrell
Ida B. Wells
Henry Highland Garnet