Throughout the fall, and now into the New Year, Abilene Public Library has been showing the PBS series The Latino Americans at the Mockingbird Branch. Part four will be shown on Thursday, February 18 at 6:30PM at the Mockingbird Branch. We are proud to bring you this groundbreaking series. It is hailed as the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America over the last 500-plus years. Latinos have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S., making many important contributions to the history and culture of Texas.
Episode 1: "Foreigners in Their Own Land" explored the period from 1565-1880, as the first Spanish explorers entered North America, the U.S. expanded into the Southwest, and as the Mexican-American War stripped Mexico of half its territories.
Episode 2: "Empire of Dreams" documented how the American population begins to be reshaped by the influx of people beginning in 1880 and continuing into the 1940s. Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans begin arriving in the U.S. and started to build strong Latino-American communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York.
Episode 3: "War and Peace" moved into the World War II years and those that followed, as Latino Americans served their new country by the hundreds of thousands - but still faced discrimination and a fight for civil rights back in the United States.
The episode that we feature on the 18th is titled "The New Latinos," and highlights swelling immigration from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic from the post-World War II years into the early 1960s. The new arrivals seek economic opportunities unavailable in their home countries, and greatly affect the U.S. economy for the better.
As we look forward to presenting episodes 5 & 6 in February and March, please remember that all locations of your library have many books that chronicle the contributions of individuals and Hispanics overall to our country. From books like My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court justice, to Latina Legislator: Leticia Van de Putte and the Road to Leadership by Sharon A. Navarro, we have a number of biographies of men and women of Hispanic descent who have made their indelible mark on our society.
People of Hispanic descent have made hugely important impacts in wartime. Materials of interest in this area include the DVD Hispanics and the Medal of Honor and titles such as A Legacy Greater than Words: Stories of U.S. Latinos and Latinas of the WWII Generation by Maggie Rivas-Rodriquez or Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic by Mark L. Donald with Scott Mactavish.
If you haven't yet seen one of the episodes of The Latino Americans at the Mockingbird Branch, please join us on Thursday, February 18 at 6:30PM. And if you'd like to learn more about the Hispanic/Latino portion of history, let your Abilene Public Library, at any location, give you a hand.
Article Contributed by Janet Bailey, Technical Services Manager at the Main Branch of the Abilene Public Library