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Background Information

Mexican-American Culture and History

Digital History Project
This project at the University of Houston acts as a virtual historian and offers a section called "Mexican American Voices," which includes information on a wide variety of topics, ranging from America's Spanish heritage to Mexican Americans in popular culture.

History Channel: All About Mexico
This interactive History Channel website mixes historical and contemporary information about Mexico that includes sections dedicated to facts, landmarks, culture and discussion boards.

A History of the Mexican American People
This book by Julian Samora and Patricia Vandel Simon is available to read online, for free. (1977)

 

Background on Migrant Workers

POV's Borders | Migrations: Journey
Armando talks about how he and his brothers spent their childhood weekends picking strawberries in the nearby fields. Find out what life is like today for a migrant farmworking family. (June 2004)

Escuela: Migrant Life: How Enlightened Are We?
As farmworkers make their treks across the country, their children face the challenges of a migratory education. Ricardo Sanchez of the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project examines how the emotional, educational and societal problems of their high school experience impact upon a migrant student's dreams of higher education. (July 2002)

Food First Institute for Food and Development Policy: Migrant Farmworkers: America's New Plantation Workers
This detailed article, provided by the Food First Institute, talks about labor issues and conditions surrounding Mexican American migrant workers. (Spring 2004)

NOW with Bill Moyers: On the Border: Migrant Labor in the United States
Moyers takes a look at the history of migrant farming in America, including the 1960 broadcast of Edward R. Murrow's made-for-TV documentary entitled "Harvest of Shame" on CBS, the role Cesar Chavez played in organizing immigrant farm workers in the 1060s and 70s and a snapshot of farm workers at the turn of the 21st century. (May 28, 2004)

The New York Times: "Drugs and Debt: Shackles of Migrant Worker"
In this 1989 in-depth editorial special, reporter Peter T. Kilborn discusses the conditions for migrant workers in the United States in the 20th century. (October 31, 1989)

 

The Bracero Program

History News Network: The Bracero Program: Was It a Failure?
Th Bracero program allowed South Americans including Mexicans to enter into the United States to work in the fields during World War II. Philip Martin discusses the after-effects that this program had on Latinos in this excerpt from his 2003 book Promise Unfulfilled: Unions, Immigration, and Farm Workers.

Migration Information Source: us Temporary Worker Programs: Lesson Learned
In 2004, President George W. Bush proposed changes in the us foreign immigration policy along the lines of the WW II-era Bracero program. This editorial highlights lessons learned from the Bracero program, as well as various other temporary worker programs in the United States. (March 2004)

The New York Times: "Mexican laborers In us During World War II Sue for Back Pay"
Mexicans who were part of the Bracero program during World War II are now suing the government for money that they never received. (April 29, 2001)

 

Operation Wetback

The Handbook of Texas Online: Operation Wetback
This article provides extensive information on the operation that displaced thousands of Mexican American families.

Christian Science Monitor: "How Eisenhower Solved Illegal Border Crossings From Mexico"
This editorial takes a look at the political process on Operation Wetback and how it was formed. ( July 6, 2006)

The Times: "Mexican waves — and how to deal with them"
With the United States still trying to find ways to control the in-flux of illegal immigration and with President Bush pushing the bill to legalize immigrants into us citizens, Graham Stewart takes a look back at previous attempts the us took to control immigration. May 20, 2006


Edcouch-ELSA High School Walkout

The Brownsville Herald: "Former Edcouch-Elsa students recall the tumultuous year"
Hear from former students who took part in the 1968 walkout as they share their experiences with younger students within the community. (December 13, 1998)

Edcouch-Elsa Walkout (1968) Resources
Compiled by a middle school history teacher, this website provides links to newspaper articles, photographs and documents including the list of demands made by the students who participated in the 1968 Edcouch-Elsa walkout.


Advocacy & Civil Rights

The National Council of La Raza
The National Council of La Raza is the largest civil rights organization in the United States dedicated to advocating for Latinos. The organization's website features policy statements on a wide range of issues currently confronting Latinos, including immigration and the rights of farmworkers.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
This nonprofit organization focuses on Latino litigation, advocacy and educational outreach in the United States. Its website features updates on current litigation affecting the community and information about the organization's educational programs.

Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA)
A youth organization devoted to Latino self-determination, MEChA promotes education, political involvement and pride in Chicano/a heritage.

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee
This broad coalition of grassroots community, religious, labor, civil rights and legal organizations is working to build a social movement in support of the rights of immigrants and refugees.

The American Friends Service Committee
Inspired by their Quaker faith, the American Friends Service Committee has taken a leadership position on immigration reform. Elected officials are called upon to "enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation that establishes a safe and humane immigration system." They have national and regional centers that provide services, reports and other resources.


PBS AND NPR

POV

Who Killed Vincent Chin?
by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima
On a hot summer night in Detroit, Ronald Ebens, an autoworker, killed a young Chinese-American engineer with a baseball bat. Although he confessed, he never spent a day in jail. This gripping Academy Award-nominated film relentlessly probes the implications of the murder in the streets of Detroit, for the families of those involved, and for the American justice system. (July 1989)

POV's Borders | Migrations: Journey
In this precursor to Calavera Highway, Armando Peña talks about how he and his brothers spent their childhood weekends picking strawberries in the nearby fields. Find out what life is like today for a migrant farmworking family. (June 2004)

POV's Borders | Migrations: Leaving Elsa
This ten-week interactive drama follows the lives of three teenagers from Elsa, Texas, the same town Armando and his brothers grew up in. The three teenagers in "Leaving Elsa" documented the first semester of their senior year in high school in their own words and images. (September 2004)

Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side): Special Features
Learn more about corrido music and read an interview with Mexican-American musicians Los Tigres del Norte, who have created some of the most popular and respected corrido songs on both sides of the Mexican-American border. (August 2006)

Escuela: Migrant Life: How Enlightened Are We?
As farmworkers make their treks across the country, their children face the challenges of a migratory education. Ricardo Sanchez of the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project examines how the emotional, educational and societal problems of their high school experience impact upon a migrant student's dreams of higher education. (July 2002)


Elsewhere on PBS

My Journey Home: Armando Peña
In addition to Calavera Highway, Armando Peña has shared his reflections on his family as part of the PBS series "My Journey Home."

BYU Broadcasting: Ancestors
The website of the PBS series "The Ancestors" provides a variety of tools for people interested in researching their own family histories.

The Border: Tell us Your Story
The website of the PBS series, "The Border" includes a bulletin board filled with stories recounting the experiences of a wide representation of Mexican Americans.


NPR Stories

Morning Edition: Examining the Legacy of the Braceros Program
Guadelupe Martinez came to the United States from Mexico more than 50 years ago as a temporary farm worker — part of the controversial Bracero Program. The program was meant to assuage a labor shortage and reduce illegal immigration. (March 23, 2005)

KPFK: Global Tuesdays with Bettos Arcos
Learn more about Los Angeles' global music program that featured the music of Calavera Highway on September 9, 2008 and review composer Rene Gasca's "must-have" Tejano playlist.





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