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Chicano & Latino History

A Class Apart: A Mexican American Civil Rights Story

In the small town of Edna, Texas, in 1951, field hand Pete Hernandez killed a tenant farmer after exchanging words in a cantina. From this murder emerged a landmark civil rights case that would change the lives and legal standing of ten of millions of Americans. Tells the story of an underdog band of Mexican American lawyers who took their case all the way to the Supreme Court, where they challenged Jim Crow-style discrimination against Mexican Americans.

Adelante Mujeres!

Spanning five centuries, this comprehensive video focuses exclusively on the history of Mexican-American/Chicana women; as the center of their families, as activists in their communities and as contributors to American history. c1992. 30 min.

Related web sites: Women Make Movies catalog description

Ballad of an Unsung Hero.

Uses archival footage, photographs, and recordings, as well as interviews, to chronicle the life of Pedro J. Gonzalez, who served as telegrapher for Pancho Villa, became a radio star and recording artist in the United States, championed the cause of Mexican-Americans, and worked as a prisoner in San Quentin to reform the California penal system. 1983. 28 min.

Break of Dawn: A True Story.

Based on the life story of Pedro J. Gonzalez who championed the cause of Mexican-Americans in California during the Depression years and who worked for the reform of the California Penal System. Written and directed by Isaac Artenstein c1988. 100 min.

Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story.

This documentary captures how a community was betrayed by greed, political hypocrisy, and good intentions gone astray. Don Normark's haunting photographs evoke a lost Mexican-American village in the heart of downtown LA, razed in the 1950's to build an enormous low-income housing project. Instead, the federally purchased land was used for Dodger Stadium. Directed by Jordan Mechner. 2004. 24 min.
web web sites:Description from Bullfrog Films catalog
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Employs Mexican murals, rare photographs, prints, and documentary footage to trace the traditional and the emerging roles of Mexican/Chicanas from pre-Columbian times to the present, showing how women have made important contributions as workers, mothers, activists, educators, leaders, and in numerous other ways, despite their generally oppressed status in the Latino culture. 23 min.

Related web sites: Description from Women Make Movies catalog

Chicano Park.

The history and culture of the Chicano people, who were involved in the establishment of Chicano Park, San Diego, Calif. in 1978. 59 min. Reviews and articles:Ryan, Susan. "Chicano Park." (movie reviews) Cineaste v19, n1 (Wntr, 1992):66.

Chicano!: The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.

A four part series chronicling various aspects of the struggles for equal rights by Mexican Americans. Executive producer, Jose Luis Ruiz ; series producer, Hector Galan ; producers, Hector Galan, Mylene Moreno ; editor, Brian Beasley ; camera, Dieter Kaupp ; music, Josep Julian Gonzalez. 57 min. each installment. Episode 1: Quest for a Homeland. Examines the events at Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, that sparked a national movement for social justice.

From Sleepy Lagoon to Zoot Suit: The Irreverent Path of Alice McGrath

In the incendiary climate of WWII, 22 young Mexican-American men were charged with conspiracy to commit murder and tried en masse. In spite of a lack of evidence, 12 were convicted and sent to San Quentin. This film profiles the life and work of Alice Greenfield McGrath, who spearheaded the fight to get them out. With help from author Luis Valdez, Mcgrath tells this story of unbridled racism, the response to this injustice that she organized, and ultimately the chronicling of these events in Valdez's play Zoot Suit. Produced, directed, edited by Bob Giges. 1996. 31 min.