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Latino Americans

Airs Tuesdays, Sept. 17 - Oct. 1, 2013 from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Eliseo Medina (left), and Dolores Huerta at a march, Chicago, Illinois, 1971.

Credit: Courtesy of Eliseo Medina

Above: Eliseo Medina (left), and Dolores Huerta at a march, Chicago, Illinois, 1971.

Actor Benjamin Bratt narrates this landmark six-hour series, the first major television documentary series to chronicle the rich and varied history of Latinos, who have for the past 500-plus years helped shape what is today the United States and have become the country’s largest minority group.


View a timeline of important events in Latino American history beginning in 1565 up through 2013.

Mi Historia

Become a part of the LATINO AMERICANS project. Make a video describing what being Latino means to you, share your family traditions, tell us how you celebrate your heritage and culture or let us know about your role models. Share your story and become part of ours. Watch other people's videos and submit your own

Photo credit: Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS

During PBS’ LATINO AMERICANS session at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in Los Angeles, Calif. on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, Benjamin Bratt, Rita Moreno, Ray Suarez and executive producer Adriana Bosch examine the rich and varied history of Latinos in the United States.

Latino American Voices Blog

Explore these stories

LATINO AMERICANS features interviews with an array of 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.

Interview subjects also include journalist María Elena Salinas, co-anchor of “Noticiero Univision,” the nightly newscast most watched by American Latinos; columnist Juan Gonzalez, author of "Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America" and co-founder of the Young Lords Organization, a Puerto Rican nationalist movement; Rep. Charles Gonzalez, a retired Texas congressman who from 1999-2012 served in the House of Representatives for the district that his father, Henry B. Gonzalez, represented for nearly four decades; and Herman Badillo, the Bronx politician who, in 1970, became the first Puerto Rican elected to the House of Representatives and ran six times for Mayor of New York.

"Foreigners In Their Own Land/Empire Of Dreams" airs Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. - Survey the history and people from 1565-1880, as the first Spanish explorers enter North America, the U.S. expands into territories in the Southwest that had been home to Native Americans and English and Spanish colonies, and as the Mexican-American War strips Mexico of half its territories by 1848.

"Empire of Dreams" airs Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 9 p.m. - See how the American population is reshaped by Latino immigration starting in 1880 and continuing into the 1940s: Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans begin arriving in the U.S. and start to build communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York.

"War And Peace" airs Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. - Trace the World War II years and those that follow, as Latino Americans serve their new country by the hundreds of thousands — yet still face discrimination and a fight for civil rights in the United States.

"The New Latinos" airs Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. - Review the decades after World War II through the early 1960s, as swelling numbers of immigrants from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic seek economic opportunities.

"Prejudice And Pride" airs Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. - Witness the creation of the proud “Chicano” identity as labor leaders organize farm workers in California, and as activists push for better education opportunities for Latinos, the inclusion of Latino studies and empowerment in the political process.

"Peril And Promise" airs Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 9 p.m. - Examine the past 30 years, as a second wave of Cubans and hundreds of thousands Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans flee to the U.S., creating a debate over undocumented immigrants that leads to calls for tightened borders, English-only laws and efforts to brand the undocumented as a drain on public resources. Simultaneously, the Latino influence is booming in business, sports, media, politics and entertainment. Latino Americans become the largest and youngest growing sector of the American population.

Latino Americans Series Teaser

LATINO AMERICANS relies on historical accounts and personal experiences to vividly tell the stories of early settlement, conquest and immigration; of tradition and reinvention; of anguish and celebration; and of the creation of this new American identity with an influx of arrivals from Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and countries in Central and South America.

Immigration Demonstrations of 2006

If HR 4437 had past the Senate 12 million undocumented immigrants would have been declared felons. The protests of 2006 marchers turned out across the nation to rally against the bill. The protesters were heard and the bill failed to pass the Senate.

Immigration at the Crossroads

Since 2005 the migrant flow has slowed, but there are still 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Herman Badillo

Herman Badillo, a Bronx politician who has been a borough president, United States Representative, and candidate for Mayor of New York City. He was the first Puerto Rican to be elected to these posts and be a mayoral candidate in the continental United States.

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, a labor leader and civil rights activist who, along with Cesar Chavez founded the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. (UFW)

Hector Garcia

Hector Garcia was a Mexican-American doctor who served in World War II. After returning home he dedicated his life to helping Hispanic Veterans receive the benefits they deserved. He founded the American G. I. Forum.

G.I. Forum

By the end of the 1950s the GI Forum had expanded to 30 chapters across the country. Hector Garcia changed the lives of Latinos by the ballot box. Garcia's friendship with LBJ helped Kennedy carry Texas with his Viva Kennedy clubs.

Eligo Pena

An immigrant from the Dominican Republic who fled the civil war and settled in New York, where he bought a supermarket in 1978 and now owns the Compare Foods supermarket franchise

Maria Elena Salinas

Maria Elena Salinas began as a reporter in 1981 in Los Angeles, in Spanish Language Media. She interviewed California Governor Pete Wilson in 1994 who was pushing Prop 187 in his reelection campaign. It severely restricted health care and other government services for undocumented immigrants.

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno talks about her experience on West Side Story and the prejudices she faced in Hollywood

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