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Hispanic Heritage Month is an excellent time to launch a year-long series of events examining the history and contribution of Hispanics to the U.S. and Wichita Falls. Dr. Jeffrey Oxford, Chair of Foreign Languages and Professor of Spanish at Midwestern State University, notes that “It is important to bring these events to Wichita Falls both for the Hispanic and the non-Hispanic community since it gives specific examples of how Hispanics have contributed historically to the making of America and how they are currently involved in the progress of Wichita Falls, of Texas, and the U.S.” Oxford is serving as project coordinator for the NEH/ALA grant collaboration between MSU, the Wichita Falls Public Library, the Zavala Hispanic Cultural Initiative, and the Museum of North Texas History which is sponsoring the activities.

The project will feature the 2013 PBS documentary series Latino Americans, a production of WETA Washington, D.C.; Bosch and Co. Inc.; and Latino Public Broadcasting. In conjunction with screenings of select episodes in the series, localized events will show roles Latino Americans have played in the history of Wichita Falls and Wichita County. And the primary goals of the celebrations are 1) bringing scholarship on Latino American histories and cultures to new audiences; 2) fostering and understanding of local histories in regional, national, and international contexts; and 3) engaging people in examining and documenting the histories of Latino Americans in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area.

The first event in the series is the September 15 screening of “Peril and Promise (1980-2000),” with scholar Dr. David Barbosa, director for the Bilingual Opportunity Window program at MSU, leading the post-screening discussion. 

On October 5, MSU’s Dean of Fine Arts Dr. Martin Comacho and Grammy-nominated pianist Dr. Adonis Gonzalez will perform the “Two Piano Latin-American Music Concert” at 7 p.m. in Akin Auditorium.

The Wichita Falls Public Library will host the literary exhibition, “Voces Americanas: Latino Literature in the United States” from Nov. 1-Dec. 1.

Screenings of the Latino Americans series take place at 6 p.m. at the Wichita Falls Public Library. 

Subsequent events in are: 

Nov. 17 – “The New Latinos (1946-1965),” with Oxford leading the discussion after the film.

February 1-March 5 – “In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez,” an exhibition at the Wichita Falls Public Library.

Feb. 9 – “Prejudice and Pride (1965-1980)” with scholar Dr. Ann Marie Leimer, Chair of the Ralph and Juanita Harvey School of Visual Arts.

Feb. 23 – Bilingual storyteller Sue Young at the Wichita Falls Public Library. Time to be announced.

April 5-May 9 – Exhibition: “Images of Valor: U.S. Latinos and Latinas of World War II” at the Museum of North Texas History, 720 Indiana, Wichita Falls.

April 19 – “War and Peace (1942-1954),” with a panel discussion by Raquel Oxford and military personnel. Time will be at 6:30 p.m. 

“Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” is a nationwide public programming initiative that supports the exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has provided support for 203 libraries, museums, historical societies, cultural and community organizations and other nonprofits nationwide to participate in the program. 

“Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” was produced by NEH and the American Library Association (ALA), and is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: Humanities in the Public Square. 

Contact Oxford at 940-397-4309 for more information.                             Para espanol


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