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Who Is That Man, Anyway?
Subject: Benito Juarez
Sculptor: Enrique Alciati
Location: Foggy Bottom
( Virginia Ave. & New Hampshire Ave. )
Juarez (1806-1872) was a full-blooded Zapotec Indian who became the first president of Mexico. Born to illiterate parents, he learned to read and write from a Catholic priest in Oaxaca, became a lawyer and went on to help draft the constitution of Mexico.
When Santa Ana (of Alamo fame) seized the country, Juarez fled to New Orleans. He returned to Mexico when Santa Ana was overthrown and was elected president in 1861. He corresponded with Abraham Lincoln to get advice on how to establish a democracy, particularly one plagued with interracial problems.
The statue was a gift of Mexico in exchange for a statue of Abraham Lincoln that was presented to Mexico by the United States. Juarez, often called the "George Washington of Mexico", is positioned so he is pointing to the bust of Washington that sits on the campus of George Washington University.
Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
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