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Fronteras: Mexican-American Studies On Border; SpaceX In Brownsville; & Marley Lizama

Marlon Lizama
An image from Marley Lizama's one-man performance, "My Spanglish Hip-Hop Story"

Despite a strong Hispanic presence, not much Mexican-American history is being taught in public schools along the border — that is, until now.  

  • On this episode of Fronteras, students in El Paso are learning more about a previously unknown chapter of history (0:17).
  • Also on this episode, a SpaceX facility in Brownsville has yet to be completed but residents there are worried if the company’s promises of a launch facility will go unfulfilled (5:34).
  • And finally, Houston poet and performer Marley Lizama talks about how his mother’s unconventional punishments led him to poetry, and how hip hop helped him find his voice (10:57).

Credit Mallory Falk
Candy Quintanilla (left) and Luciana Messina, are seniors in the Mexican-American Studies elective at Jefferson High School in El Paso.

El Paso’s First Mexican-American Studies Classes Surprise, Challenge

Since the first big push for Chicano studies in the 1970s, there’s been resistance — a fear that it would somehow dilute “real” U.S. history, or even spark a separatist movement.

But earlier this year, the State Board of Education discussed possibly coming up with curriculum standards for a Mexican-American Studies course. The current lack of statewide standards, or even a state-approved textbook, has been a big hurdle for school districts.

Even in El Paso, a majority Mexican-American city, a handful of schools just started offering the class this year. El Paso faces the same challenges as other districts and, as Mallory Falk reports, some unique ones as well.



Neighbors Concerned SpaceX Could Transform South Texas

Credit Paul Flahive / Texas Public Radio
The antennas were purchased from NASA, and will track Dragon capsule launches as early as this year.

Texans have waited four years to see a ship blast off from Brownsville. Still, no date on when SpaceX's launch pad will be completed. For many nearby residents, frustration over a silent SpaceX outweighs excitement or concern. TPR technology reporter Paul Flahive has more.


Credit Marlon Lizama
Marlon "Marley" Lizama

‘All Of A Sudden I Was Accepted By A Community That Didn’t Care How Poor I Was’

Houston poet and performer Marlon “Marley” Lizama discovered his love of the spoken word through hip hop. He tours with his one-man show, “My Spanglish Hip-Hop story,” which traces his Puerto Rican and Salvadoran roots, as well as his life in the U.S.

MORE 'This Is God, Yo, This Is God'

His group Havikoro is made up of dancers, poets and authors, and they have traveled the world sharing their culture and inspiration to international audiences. Lizama is the author of “Cue the Writer: Cheers to the Notion of Love, Hate, God, and Revolution.

WATCH | Trailer for 'My Spanglish Hip Hop Story'


Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1