We investigated the genetic structure and kinship patterns of black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) at Palenque National Park, Mexico. Fecal samples from 49 individuals residing in eight social groups were successfully genotyped for 19 polymorphic microsatellite markers known to be variable in other ateline primates. Overall, genetic diversity was low (Ho = 0.588) with an average of 4.2 alleles per loci (range = 2-8). We found that intergroup genetic variation among adults was relatively high (mean between-group FST = 0.119), largely due to the genetic divergence of one study group from the others. Intragroup kinship patterns showed that in most social groups, either adult males, adult females, or individuals of both sexes resided with same-sexed adult kin, suggesting that some black howler males and females may not disperse from their natal group or may disperse with related individuals. Of the six sampled immigrant males, two males joined established groups by themselves, and four males formed two pairs that each took over the social group they joined after evicting the resident males. Males in both these coalitions were genetically closely related, while the two solitary immigrants were not closely related to any of the resident males present in the group they joined.