This blog is the place to exchange ideas, news, issues and thoughts about diversity and multiculturalism in museums. The Multicultural Initiatives Committee is a Texas Association of Museums Affinity Group.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Crossing Borders; Telling Lives: Fresh Ways to Create Dialog about Immigration in a Museum Context

The title of this blog entry comes from a session I attended last week at the TAM Annual Meeting in Galveston. I went both because I was interested in the topic, and because I had heard Linda Ho Peche speak at the Texas Association of Museum Educator's workshop in January. Just as when I had heard her before, she was fantastic.

I was really struck, however, by Kristine Navarro's passionate commentary on her research with survivors from the Bracero Program. Navarro is the Director of the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas--El Paso. In conjunction with George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, the National Museum of American History, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Brown University, the Institute of Oral History has launched the Bracero Oral History Project to conduct interviews with former braceros. To date they have collected hundreds of interviews as well as photographs and historical material documenting the history of the Bracero Program.

I was speechless, not only because I had never heard of braceros, but also because of the sad stories surrounding this program. Like so many historical happenings, the truth has been buried. Fortunately, historians like Ms. Navarro work tirelessly to make sure that these stories see the light of day--and that these people's histories are not forgotten.

I know that I won't soon forget the braceros.

Other links of interest:
Public Law 45 of 1943
Case Study from American University
Handbook of Texas Online
Photos from California
Bracero Timeline

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