|Ignacio Ramírez "El Nigromante"|
|Born||Ignacio Ramírez Calzada
June 22, 1818
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
|Died||June 15, 1879
Mexico City, Mexico
|Occupation||Writer, Lawyer, Poet|
|Literary movement||Satire, libertarianism|
Juan Ignacio Paulino Ramírez Calzada (22 June 1818 - 15 June 1879) was a Mexican writer, poet, journalist, lawyer, atheist, and political libertarian from San Miguel de Allende who used the pen name, El Nigromante (The Necromancer). He defended the rights of Indians. He was known as, “The Mexican Voltaire” and worked with Guillermo Prieto to start the satirical periodical, Don Simplicio.
He began his studies in Querétaro, birth city of his father, and in 1835 was taken to the Colegio de San Gregorio in Mexico City, where he studied arts. In 1841 he began studies and in 1845 obtained a law degree at the Pontifical University of Mexico. He was admitted at age 19 in the Literary Academy of St. John Lateran, composed of the most enlightened men of the time. Ramirez is famous in Mexico's literary annals for his reading a speech at the Academy on a topic so controversial that had the effect of a dynamite explosion: he opined that there is no God - the creatures of nature are sustained by themselves ("No hay Dios; los seres de la naturaleza se sostienen por sí mismos" (There is no God: Natural Beings Support Themselves"). He was accepted despite protests that petrified the assembly. He would be exalted as the first orator and later as the best writer of his time.
According to the web site of the Mexican government, “He was persecuted and imprisoned for his ideas, but managed to promote various changes to the law, such as that guaranteeing the autonomy of the municipality. He was named Minister for Instruction and Promotion, instituting important educational and economic reforms. During the reign of the Emperor Maximilian, he was banished to California, but on his return to the Republic, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Justice as a magistrate. He died on June 15, 1879, in Mexico City.
Ramírez founded the Instituto Literario de Toluca, where he mentored the famous novelist Ignacio Manuel Altamirano. The Mexican Government named a town in the Northern State of Durango after Ignacio Ramírez.
His atheism was the subject of a scandal in 1948 when the muralist Diego Rivera painted a mural at the Del Prado Hotel with Ramírez holding a sign reading, "Dios no existe"  ("God does not exist"). Rivera would not remove the inscription, so the mural was not shown for 9 years – after Rivera agreed to remove the offending words. He stated: "To affirm "God does not exist", I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez; I am an atheist and I consider religions to be a form of collective neurosis. I am not an enemy of the Catholics, as I am not an enemy of the tuberculars, the myopic or the paralytics; you cannot be an enemy of the sick, only their good friend in order to help them cure themselves."
- Arellano, Emilio. Ignacio Ramírez, El Nigromante, Memorias prohibidas. México D. F. Editorial Planeta, 2009. (205 pages)
- Mexican Mural School
- Philip Stein, Siqueiros: his life and works (International Publishers Co, 1994), ISBN 0-7178-0706-1, pp176