As Hispanic Heritage Month winds to a close, one of the best offerings on television during this period has been PBS’ “Latino Americans” documentary. This landmark three-part experience chronicles the contributions, history and influence Latinos have had in this land for 500-years, long before it even became the United States of America as we know it today.
Latinos have been part of the fabric of this land for centuries and this PBS series, airing it’s final episode Tuesday night at 8 PM continues to tell the story of this proud and diverse culture throughout the building of this great nation. Often the story is one of tragedy, struggle and heartbreak as Latinos faced discrimination, alienation and more. However also woven into this multi-faced tapestry of Latino history are stories of triumph, determination, pride and success on levels both uniquely personal and as a community.
This acclaimed documentary, narrated by Benjamin Bratt, features interviews with an multitude of esteemed individuals, including entertainer Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rican star of West Side Story and a winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Awards; labor leader and 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta, who in the 1960s co-founded with César Chávez the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers of America; Mexican-American author and commentator Linda Chávez, who became the highest-ranking woman in the Reagan White House; and Cuban singer and entrepreneur Gloria Estefan, who has sold more than 100 million solo and Miami Sound Machine albums globally.
The final chapter airing tonight, Tuesday, October 1st. touches on the time period between 1965 to 2000 where Latinos, especially Mexican-Americans fight for a new socially active identity after years of poverty and discrimination. Also examined is the influx of Cubans and Central Americans fleeing oppression and death who flocked to the United States seeking a better life. Soon this exodus leads to issues over immigration, tightened borders and more, that are being debated to this very day.
However, the episode also focuses on how Latinos have created an ever expanding positive sea of change that continues via inspiring stories of success and achievement by talented and groundbreaking Latino individuals in music, sports, politics, business, and education. Don’t miss this final chapter of PBS’ landmark documentary, “Latino Americans”.
If you’ve missed previous episodes, they can be enjoyed at PBS online at PBS.org.