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Fronteras: A Conversation With María E. Martin; And How San Antonio’s Shotgun House Project Could Alleviate The Housing Affordability Crisis

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María E. Martin at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. | Credit: Josie Mendez Negrete
Josie Mendez Negrete
María E. Martin at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. | Credit: Josie Mendez Negrete

A Continued Conversation With Pioneering Public Radio Journalist, María E. Martin

Award-winning public radio journalist and producer María E. Martin has spent her four-decades-long career championing journalists of color.

Martin worked with NPR and has developed ground-breaking programs for public radio, including Latino USA, and the series “Despues de las Guerras: Central America After the Wars.”

She also recently collaborated with the Reveal podcast for an episode that examines the continued migration of Guatemalans to the U.S., undeterred by the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policy.

She writes about her life and career in the book “Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: A Journalist’s Heart in Latin America.”

Listen to part one of our conversation with María E. Martin here.

Fronteras Extra
María Martin talks about what’s next, including finding funding for a book that will expand upon the stories told in “Crossing Borders, Building Bridges.”
Row of shotgun houses on San Antonio's West Side.
Norma Martinez | Texas Public Radio
Row of shotgun houses on San Antonio's West Side.

The Shotgun House Project

Shotgun houses are small homes found frequently in low-income neighborhoods. They are one-room wide and often two-to-three rooms long. The story goes that they’re called ‘shotgun houses’ because you can fire a shotgun straight through the front door to the back without hitting any walls or windows.

Hundreds of these homes were located in San Antonio’s historic West Side in the early 20th Century. Most have since been demolished or fallen into disrepair.

Researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio are working to preserve the legacy of shotgun houses and use them as models to alleviate the housing affordability crisis in West Side neighborhoods.

Angela Lombardi, Ph.D. — associate professor at the UTSA Department of Architecture — and Roger Enriquez, J.D. — director of the UTSA Policy Studies Center — are leading the Shotgun House Project.

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Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter at @terrazas_lauren