UMKC to Host Latino Americans Film Series

Federal grant to university libraries funds film-and-discussion sessions

The University of Missouri-Kansas City will host a series of events focused on Latino-American history, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The series, hosted by University Libraries in collaboration with the faculty in the Latina/Latino Studies program, follows a similar format to an NEH-funded series on the Civil Rights era hosted by the library in 2014. The 2015-16 series, Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association (ALA), is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: Humanities in the Public Square.

Four discussion forums are scheduled for September 2015 through April 2016, with three of the sessions including a showing of a chapter from the six-part Latino Americans: 500 Years of History film series. The full series is available online at

The fourth session will include a presentation on the Samora Legacy Archive, recently added to the Miller Nichols Library’s LaBudde Special Collections. The Samora Legacy Archive contains the papers of Dr. Julian Samora, who is considered one of the founding fathers of Latino studies in the United States.

“Latina/Latino Studies is especially pleased to work with University Libraries to provide an opportunity to reach out to the Latino community and the general public through this NEH grant,” said Miguel Carranza, Ph.D., director of Latina/Latino studies at UMKC.“This initiative will allow us to reveal more about Latino culture and history through the film series, and the unveiling of the Samora Legacy Archive will highlight a unique richness residing on our own campus.”

“We are delighted to be able to continue our partnership with the NEH to bring important historical perspectives to our community, and provide opportunities for a rich and enlightening discussion,” said Bonnie Postlethwaite, dean of libraries at UMKC. “We are especially pleased to include an opportunity for the public to learn about the Samora Legacy Archive. These archives provide valuable insight into the Latino experience; and its goal is to ensure that the Latino heritage is known and understood by both scholars and future generations of the Latino community.”

UMKC is one of only two institutions in Missouri, and 203 nationwide, to be included in the Latino Americans project by the NEH.

The schedule of events for the UMKC series:

  • September 12, 2015, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery, 915 W. 17th St., Kansas City, Mo. The discussion will be led by Miguel Carranza, Ph.D., director of Latina/Latino studies at UMKC, with guest scholar Gene Chavez, Ph.D., an expert in the history of Latinos in Kansas City. The series episode Empire of Dreams will be screened.
  • November 14, 2015, 1:30-3:30 p.m., National World War I Museum, 100 W 26th St., Kansas City, Mo. The discussion will be led by Norma Cantú, Ph.D., UMKC professor of Latina/Latino Studies and English. The series episode War and Peace will be screened, followed by a panel discussing the experience of Latinas/Latinos in various American wars. The program will also incorporate oral histories done by Latina/Latino Studies students from UMKC.
  • February 4, 2016, 5-7 p.m., UMKC Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center, 800 E. 51st St., Kansas City, Mo. John Valadez, director of the Latino Americans film series, will be the guest speaker and will talk about the making of the series after the showing of the episode Prejudice and Pride. Cantú will be the discussion leader.
  • Date, time and place to be determined. Guest speaker Carmen Samora Ph.D., daughter of Julian Samora, will talk about the Samora Legacy Archive. Carranza will be the discussion leader.

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