Fronteras | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras

Fridays at 12 noon and Sundays at 9 p.m.

Presented by Texas Public Media, "Fronteras" explores the changing culture and demographics of the American Southwest. From Texas to New Mexico and California, "Fronteras" provides insight into life along the U.S.- Mexico border. Our stories examine unique regional issues affecting lifestyle, politics, economics and the environment.  "Fronteras" airs on Texas Public Radio stations, can be streamed at tpr.org or downloaded as a podcast.

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Courtesy of Enrique Alemán.

Editor’s Note: Insensitive language frequently used in the mid-20th Century is included in this story.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that racial desegregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Some school districts were not swayed by Brown v. Board of Education and found ways to discriminate. 

Mexican-American students in Driscoll, Texas, were purposely held back to avoid “retarding” the white students. Students with Spanish surnames were made to take first grade for three years. It didn’t matter how fluent they were in English, or if English was their primary language. As a result, Mexican-American students were graduating from high school in their early 20s.


Courtesy of the Dolores Huerta Foundation

Labor leader and activist Dolores Huerta fought alongside Cesar Chavez to unionize farm workers, but her life in activism didn’t end at the picket line.

She continues to work for the working poor, women, and children, through the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Huerta was recently the guest of honor at an event hosted by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

San Antonio educator Haroon Monis wrote his book "A Refugee's Story" after fleeing from his war ravaged homeland, Afghanistan, in the 1980s.
Courtesy of Haroon Monis

A 2019 report by the Institute for Peace and Economics labeled Afghanistan as the “least peaceful” country in the world. More than 10% of all refugees worldwide are from Afghanistan — second only to Syria — and 94,000 Afghan refugees lived in the U.S. as of 2016.

A San Antonio educator was one of the millions of people who were displaced when the Soviet army invaded his native country of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Haroon Monis shares his experience of fleeing his war-ravaged homeland in his book, “A Refugee’s Story.”

UTSA Special Collections

Students across the Southwest walked out of class in the late 1960s and early 1970s to protest what they believed to be discriminatory policies directed at Mexican American students, including a ban on speaking Spanish on campus.

Mario Compean and Aurelio Montemayor were co-chairs of a recent conference in San Antonio that reflected on the Chicano student walkouts, 50 years later.

Lauren Terrazas / Texas Public Radio

Professional sports teams have been dogged with accusations of cultural impropriety.  The Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Braves have come under fire for offensive team names. Chief Wahoo, the cartoonish mascot of Cleveland Indians, was officially retired from team uniforms in 2018. 

JD Doyle Archives

The story of the LGBTQ community in the early 20th century is buried deep in Texas history. A first-generation college student and young historian explored these lesser-known past events and early advocates and published his findings in the scholarly article, “Recovering Queer History in Texas: Female Impersonators, Public Opinion, and Policy Responses in the Early Twentieth Century.”

Koury Angelo

Cristela Alonzo documents her upbringing in the Rio Grande Valley in her new memoir, “Music to My Years: A Mixtape-Memoir of Growing Up and Standing Up.” Alonzo spoke with TPR’s Reynaldo Leaños Jr. about what inspired her to become a social and political activist.

Plus, the lasting impact of Benny Martinez, a longtime Mexican American civil rights leader, is being remembered as he is laid to rest this weekend in Houston.


Koury Angelo

Cristela Alonzo is a comedian, writer, producer, and actor. She’s a native of the Rio Grande Valley and doesn’t want you to forget it. 

Alonzo’s new memoir is called “Music to My Years: A Mixtape-Memoir of Growing Up and Standing Up.”

She recently wrapped up a stand up tour she called “My Affordable Care Act.”

Alonzo took the tour to her hometown of McAllen in November. That’s where Texas Public Radio’s Reynaldo Leaños, Jr. — another native of the Valley — caught up with her. 

Norma Martinez | Texas Public Radio

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and there are probably millions more who have it and don’t know.

Latinos and African Americans are at a much higher risk for developing the disease than non-Hispanic whites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says over 50% of Hispanic men and women are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetimes.


Born on the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border, Norma Cantú explores the joy, sadness, love, life and the deaths experienced along the border in her new collection of poetry, “Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor.” (00:30)

Then, Mexican culture comes alive every holiday season with tamales. Making tamales is a family affair where everyone has a role. Carmen Tafolla and Ellen Riojas Clark are the co-authors of “Tamales, Comadres, and the Meaning of Civilization.” (12:10)


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