PBS Series on Latino Americans to Feature Trinity Professor Arturo Madrid

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Sep. 12, 2013

PBS Series on Latino Americans to Feature Trinity Professor Arturo Madrid

Madrid, the Murchison Distinguished Professor of Humanities, speaks on his involvement in the landmark documentary and why he believes it is important

 By Russell Guerrero '83

Arturo Madrid, Murchison Distinguised Professor of the HumanitiesSAN ANTONIO - Starting in September and continuing through October, PBS will broadcast a new three-part, six-hour documentary series tracing the 500 year history of Latino Americans, from their arrival in the New World in the 16th century to the present. 

Already called a landmark event for being the first major television documentary to explore the depth and breadth of the Latino historical and cultural experience in America, the series will feature Arturo Madrid, the Norene R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the department of modern languages and literatures at Trinity University, as one of the on-screen contributors to the film.

Madrid is pleased to be a part of a documentary that attempts to clear up misunderstandings many have about Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban-Americans, and others from Central and South America who are part of American society.

"We are imagined as having arrived yesterday - of being undocumented, poor, and uneducated," he says. "But the deep history of Latinos is a very different story. We have been here since before the birth of the United States, and we have been central and essential to the establishment of the nation."

For his part, Madrid was interviewed on camera about a year ago in the Rare Book Room of Trinity's Coates Library.  He says he will be in the first part of the documentary speaking on the role Latinos of Mexican origin - such as his ancestors in New Mexico -  played in the development of the West and Southwest.

Madrid says he hopes the documentary will create a greater awareness of Latino Americans in the historical consciousness of the United States. "We are major contributors economically, politically, and socially to American society," he says.

In addition, he believes it may lead to a better appreciation of the role Latinos have in the future of the country.  "We are your neighbors, your fellow church members, and co-workers.  We already are, or will soon be, your in-laws," says Madrid.  "We will take care of you in hospitals and in retirement homes, and we will tend to your children. But we will also take our place as professionals, leaders, and as statesmen."

He adds that the destiny of Latinos is inseparably connected to the United States.

"We have a set of rich and robust cultures, and we hold tremendous promise if American society is ready to invest in our collective future."

Latino Americans premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17, with a two-hour episode and will continue the next two consecutive Tuesdays on PBS.  It will also be re-broadcast at other dates and times in September and October on local PBS affiliates (such as KLRN-TV in San Antonio). Viewers can check the complete series airdates on the stations' programming web page.   


-Russell Guerrero '83 is the public information officer at Trinity. He can be reached at rguerrer@trinity.edu.