Fronteras: Maternal Mortality & Black Women; Digital Divide; & Tricentennial Soundtrack | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: Maternal Mortality & Black Women; Digital Divide; & Tricentennial Soundtrack

Mar 16, 2018

This week on Fronteras:

  • Black women are dying either before or after childbirth in higher numbers than the rest of the Texas population.
  • The small South Texas city of Pharr is connecting homes with free broadband internet in an effort to close the digital divide (8:33).
  • Local composer Federico Chavez-Blanco has been commissioned to write music for San Antonio’s Tricentennial celebration (14:15).

Maddy Oden's daughter, who is African-American, died after doctors gave her a drug to induce labor. Tatia Oden French's baby also died.

There's No Success Story Texas Can Follow To Stop Black Mothers From Dying

Experts say there’s a model for Texas to follow on to how to reduce maternal deaths in the state. California found a way to reduce its rate by half in just a few years. But even though California’s rate is drastically lower these days, it didn’t solve one huge problem: the race gap. Black women are up to four times more likely to die while pregnant or after giving birth. KUT’s Ashley Lopez brings us the final report in her maternal mortality series.


Credit Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Connecting The Least Connected In Texas

The Texas-Mexico border is one of the least internet connected areas in the U.S. A federal reserve map shows border counties bathed in red, meaning less than 60 percent have home access. Texas Public Radio tech reporter Paul Flahive says the border city of Pharr launched a program to break up that line.

Federico Chavez-Blanco working with studio musicians
Credit Federico Chavez-Blanco

Soundtrack to the Tricentennial

San Antonio is celebrating its Tricentennial this year, and the milestone has a soundtrack. The city commissioned local composer Federico Chavez-Blanco to write music for various events, including a major orchestral and theatrical work to be revealed soon. Chavez-Blanco spoke to Fronteras about the commission and about a Cinderella-story musical that centers around a quinceañera.

Chavez-Blanco is a native of Mexico and San Antonio resident who has written for television and film. He was recently commissioned to compose the music for this year’s San Antonio Tricentennial celebrations. He composed the musical “Cenicienta, a Quinceañera with a Taste of Cinderella,” a mariachi tribute to a Hispanic family tradition. His music can be heard on telenovelas such as “Azul Tequila” and “Señora,” and on a number of films and documentaries.

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at and on Twitter @NormDog1