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Colegio de San Gregorio: Universidad Obrera “Vicente Lombardo Toledano”

Photo: GAED, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

The old Colegio de San Gregorio is today home to the Universidad Obrera “Vicente Lombardo Toledano.” The facility is best known today as the site of the foundry where Manuel Tolsá poured the bronze for the Caballito prior to its unveiling in 1803.

The site of the foundry had long been the property of the Jesuits who’d founded El Colegio Seminario de Indios de San Gregorio in 1586. Construction on the site here began in 1612. It then operated as a school for indigenous people nearly through the end of the colonial period. Like many such religiously affiliated institutions, the 19th century saw tremendous uproar. And like so many other great buildings in the city center, this one was put to a great variety of uses.

By 1853, the building was in use by the National College of Agriculture and Veterinary Science. It then went through a series of tenant schools including one for the blind and deaf, and one for arts and crafts. It was later used as a hospital and as the National Newspaper Archive.

The Universidad Obrera de México was founded in 1936 especially as an institution for the training and organizing of Industrial Workers.

  • Vicente Lombardo Toledano (1894–1968) was a trade unionist, politician, and Marxist philosopher. He’s often cited as the chief link between Mexican labor and the outside world of trade unionism and socialism. He founded the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) in 1936 with the support of President Lázaro Cárdenas del Río. The CTM is still an influential group of labor unions in Mexico. But in Mexico City, it’s still especially well recognized for the housing developments. Often entire neighborhoods still bear the name CTM for the support they got from organized labor.

The University opened on this site in 1964. Today it’s one of the more interesting smaller universities in the city. It runs a strong community outreach program that includes loads of workshops and courses. Many of these are focused on getting young people into other universities, but there is still a core curricula on union organizing, and labor law.


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