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Philip Harrison of the Black Justice Party

The Rainbow War was an insurrection in the United States of Mexico by Negroes and Mexicanos that took place from 1944 to 1952. The insurrection was touched off by President Alvin Silva's cancellation of the 1944 Mexican elections, and was finally put down by Secretary of War Vincent Mercator.

Following passage of the Manumission Act on 21 May 1920, a freed slave named Philip Harrison emigrated to Arizona and began organizing the Black Justice Party, which sought reparations from Mexico as recompense for centuries of Negro slavery. Harrison also began making plans for an uprising that he called "justice day."

After President Silva announced that he was cancelling Mexico's national elections as an emergency measure for the duration of the Global War, Harrison decided to act, and on 12 March 1944 he declared a "war against the Rainbows." The Black Justice Party began carrying out terror attacks on the Anglo, Hispano, and Mexicano populations of California, Arizona, Mexico del Norte, and Jefferson. At the same time, another group of Mexican Negroes under Miguel Calhoun began a similar campaign in the states of Durango and Chiapas.

Meanwhile, a Mexicano politician named Armondo Santa Cruz led an organization called Causa de Justicia, seeking land for poor peasants, and carrying out bombing attacks in Anglo and Hispano areas. Other guerrilla bands appeared elsewhere in the U.S.M.; had all of these bands united with the Black Justice Party and Causa de Justicia, they might have succeeded in overthrowing the Silva regime and withdrawing Mexico from the Global War. Unfortunately, Santa Cruz hated Negroes as much as he did Anglos and Hispanos, and there were several battles between his followers and Calhoun's. Harrison died in a gun battle in Armadillo, Arizona in 1948, and Calhoun took over the leadership of the Black Justice Party.

Silva had taken control of the national media following his cancellation of the elections, and he launched a propaganda campaign against the Black Justice Party and Causa de Justicia. Silva claimed that both organizations were being funded by Kramer Associates, and that Kramer agents were directing their terror attacks.

Following the Mercator Coup of January 1950, Secretary Mercator enlarged the Constabulary and used it to crush the guerrilla bands. By 1952, the guerrillas had been forced to withdraw into the mountains, and order was restored to the U.S.M.


Sobel's sources for the Rainbow War are Walter Davis's At Home: Life in the U.S.M. During the Global War (Mexico City, 1965), and Mitchell Armitage's Justice Now!: A History of Domestic Opposition to the Silva Regime in the Global War (Mexico City, 1969).

In For All Nails, the Rainbow War serves as the backdrop for a series of vignettes beginning with Broken Regiment.

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