Latino Americans: 500 Years of History Series Part 4: "The New Latinos (1946-1965)"

Monday February 22, 2016: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 9–adult.

This film and discussion will be presented in English. This program will also be presented in Spanish on Wednesday, February 24.

Dr. Teresa Satterfield, U-M Associate Professor of Romance Linguistics, Department of Romance Languages & Literature leads tonight’s screening and discussion of the film The New Latinos (1946-1965). Until World War II, Latino immigration to the United States was overwhelmingly Mexican-American. Now three new waves bring large-scale immigration from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. As the Puerto Rican government implements a historic overhaul over a million Puerto Ricans are encouraged to leave for the US mainland, to alleviate the economic pressure. Ethnic tensions explode in youth gang warfare depicted in films like West Side Story, etching the stereotype of the knife wielding Puerto Rican in the American consciousness.

In the film, Rita Moreno plays the role of Anita and wins an Oscar. But for most Puerto Ricans empowerment remains elusive. A young Puerto Rican lawyer, Herman Badillo, takes on the political establishment, opening the door for unprecedented Puerto Rican participation in electoral politics. In the early 60s, the first Cubans flee the left-wing Castro regime, a relatively white, middle-class flight that soon forms a refugee enclave in Miami.

In 1965, fearing another Communist takeover in the Caribbean, President Johnson sends Marines to the Dominican Republic, triggering a third wave of immigration. With a US visa in hand, 20 year-old university student, Eligio Peña, flees to New York. Eventually he brings his family to New York as Dominicans build a new home in Washington Heights. Julia Alvarez would take the immigrant experience – her own and that of her fellow Dominicans – to unprecedented literary heights in How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. In her work, she explores the hybrid identity taking shape in a new generation of Latinos, who are now demanding their place in America.

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of 203 sites nationwide to host this series, which has been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. The AADL series is also co-sponsored by Michigan Radio and the U-M Latina/o Studies Program and is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities In the Public Square. For more information about Latino Americans: 500 Years of History programs at AADL, please visit aadl.org/latinoamericans.

Co-sponsored by:
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