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Arts & Culture

Films Bring San Antonio & South Texas Into National Civil Rights Focus


St. Mary’s University is playing host to filmmaker John Valadez on Thursday, Oct. 10. Valadez has produced PBS Frontline documentaries and other films that have aired nationally on PBS.

The university is showing two of Valadez' films that were produced for the nationally-broadcast PBS series "The Latino Americans."

"The two films that we’re showing at St. Mary’s are first, a film called 'Prejudice and Pride,' which is about the Chicano movement of the 60s and 70s... And the second film is at 7 p.m. and it’s called 'War and Peace' and it’s about Latinos in World War II and the fight for civil rights in the post-war years," Valadez said.

In "Prejudice and Pride," which will be shown at 2 p.m., Valadez examines the largely forgotten role that South Texans played on the national stage.

"San Antonio and Texas has played a critical role in American civil rights history," he said. "There are literally civil rights pioneers and giants that come from this state. People like Willie Velasquez, who was a graduate at St. Mary’s, and who was able to organize and lead the largest Latino voter registration drive in the nation’s history. And Willie was eventually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a president can bestow."

The films will be shown in Conference Room A of the University Center, and each will be followed by a panel discussion with Valadez, Willie Velasquez' widow Janie Velasquez and Rosie Castro, amongst others. The event is free and open to the public.

"It’s not until now that the story of Latinos and their participation in American history and in shaping this country has reached primetime television," Valadez said.

Preview "Prejudice and Pride"

Preview "War and Peace"