While researching the farm worker movement, filmmaker Laurie Coyle came across several black and white photos. One woman, who appeared frequently in the photos, was later discovered to be Maria Moreno (00:17). And a new book of original song collaborations tell the stories of San Antonio West Side’s oldest residents (15:50).
When we think of “urban renewal,” trendy coffee shops and shopping centers often come to mind. But what about the people living in the zones destined for demolition? Yolanda Chávez Leyva, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, was on the front lines in the fight to save the people and the history of El Paso’s oldest neighborhood: Barrio Duranguito.
Poor neighborhoods in many cities are experiencing urban renewal. As a result, many long-time residents of those neighborhoods can no longer afford to live in the homes they have known for generations. Yolanda Chávez Leyva, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso, specializes in the history of the border and said residents of El Segundo Barrio managed to save their neighborhood from developers in 2006. That’s when the Paso del Norte group announced a downtown...
William Henry Ellis was born a slave in Victoria, Texas, in 1864 — a year before slavery was abolished in the state. Ellis was able to take advantage of his proximity to the border — and his light complexion — to reinvent himself as Mexican businessman, Guillermo Enrique Eliseo. Karl Jacoby , author of “ The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave who became a Mexican Millionaire ,” said plantation owners in Kentucky, where Ellis’ parents and grandparents were born, saw opportunity...
He was born a slave in Texas and became a Mexican millionaire. William Henry Ellis had one of the most remarkable, and mysterious, rags-to-riches stories of the early 20th century. We spoke with Karl Jacoby and Chip Williams to better understand the story of this self-made millionaire and all his identities in between.
The study of heritage Spanish is receiving more credit and recognition in the classroom. Meghann Peace and Emily Bernante, professors of Spanish at St. Mary’s University and St. Edward’s University, explain this recent phenomenon (00:18). And, a historic Mexican movie theater which was once a cultural cornerstone for the community is getting a second chance (13:57).
One of the last classic Mexican movie palaces in San Antonio still stands. Built in 1949, for three decades, the Alameda Theatre played host not only to films, but variety shows known as “variedades.” Stars of Mexico’s golden age, including Pedro Infante, Maria Félix, and Cantinflas graced the stage. But what set the Alameda apart from other nearby theaters, was it offered desegregated seating. The Alameda closed in the late 1980s. There have been numerous attempts to revive it, but the...
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund was founded 50 years ago to defend the rights of Mexican-Americans in the U.S. We explored some of the organization’s victories with Nina Perales, vice president of litigation for the organization (01:02). And, a new play is shedding a light on some Latino Vietnam veterans who have gone unaccounted for decades (16:45).
One of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods dates back nearly 300 years. But by the 1970s, gentrification led to the demolition of an area west of the San Pedro Creek: Barrio Laredito. On this episode of Fronteras, we talk to cultural anthropologist Citlali María Zentella and archaeologist and historian Jorge Luis Garcia Ruiz (00:16). Then, with early voting underway, one Native American comedy troupe is using humor to increase voter turnout among the American Indian community (11:45).
Hundred brutally beaten and even murdered by Texas Rangers. Civic rights, such as voting and serving on a jury, denied — all remnants of an era of segregation and discrimination. While this time in U.S. history is most often associated with the plight of African Americans, one minority population faced struggles entirely their own. On this episode of Fronteras, we talk to political activists Richard Avena and Rosie Castro.
For decades, the civil rights of Mexican-Americans were neglected. Then, 50 years ago, hearings were held in San Antonio to address discrimination and abuse towards the Latino community. These hearings addressed issues from segregation in public settings such as theatres and restaurants, to being denied basic civic duties like voter representation and serving on a court jury. Now, 50 years later, social injustices are immediately addressed through social media.
In 1938, 10,000 pecan shellers in San Antonio went on strike . These were not your typical blue-collar workers. They were women; they were children; they were the elderly; and they were poor. But primarily, they were Mexican. On this episode of Fronteras, we talk to filmmaker Anne Lewis about her new documentary, “A Strike and an Uprising (in Texas)” (0:16). Then, TPR’s David Martin Davies tells us about the “secret history" of San Antonio (12:34).
Filmmaker Anne Lewis creates films that focus on social action, human rights, and environmental justice. Her new documentary, “A Strike and an Uprising (in Texas),” covers two monumental worker uprisings in the Lone Star State: the 1938 Pecan Shellers strike, and a 1987 march by Stephen F. Austin University employees in Nacogdoches.
Reyna grande means “grand queen” in English. But author and memoirist Reyna Grande hasn’t always felt like she’s gotten the royal treatment as an immigrant. She joins us to discuss her memoir “A Dream Called Home” (0:18). Then, we bring you a story about a West Side San Antonio housing project, highlighting the history of the Alazán-Apache Courts (15:11).
Alazán-Apache Courts was the first public housing project in San Antonio. It was built in 1941, after San Antonio priest Carmelo Tranchese lobbied Eleanor Roosevelt to create affordable housing in San Antonio’s impoverished, mostly Mexican-American West Side. The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center and the Westside Preservation Alliance have collaborated for the new exhibit “ Los Courts .” It highlights the residents and culture that grew out of the projects.
Azul Barrientos is a singer and musician who is keeping Mexican musical traditions alive. Born in Mexico City, she makes her home in San Antonio, where she is an artist in residence at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center , a grassroots arts and cultural organization located on San Antonio’s predominantly Hispanic West Side.
A San Antonio art exhibit deconstructs the "myth of the Alamo" to provide the point of view of Mexican, African-American and indigenous populations. We talk to art historian Ruben Cordova (0:17). Then, musician Azul Barrientos celebrates traditional Latin music in her new album “Nuestro Corazón” (11:32).
On Jan. 28, 1918, 15 men and boys, ages 15 to 72, living in the West Texas border town of Porvenir were taken to a nearby hill in the middle of the night and shot and killed. It was a massacre carried out by a company of Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry soldiers, and area ranchers. We spoke with Monica Muñoz Martinez, assistant professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.
On Jan. 28, 1918, 15 men and boys, ages 15 to 72, living in the West Texas border town of Porvenir were taken to a nearby hill in the middle of the night and shot and killed. It was a massacre carried out by a company of Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry soldiers, and area ranchers. We spoke with Arlinda Valencia, a descendant of Porvenir Massacre victim, Longino Flores, and Monica Muñoz Martinez, assistant professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University, and an Andrew...
Updated at 1:41 p.m. Willie Velasquez grew up on San Antonio’s West Side, and learned early on that by empowering his fellow Latinos, they could bring change to their own neighborhoods. In 1974, Velasquez founded the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project and organized 1,000 voter drives across the Southwest. His efforts also more than doubled the number of Latino elected officials, from 1,500 in 1974 to 3,300 in 1988. Velasquez died in 1988 at 44. Writer Bárbara Renaud Gonzalez has...