Latino Americans, a new three-part, six-hour documentary series narrated by actor Benjamin Bratt, premieres on PBS television in the United States on three consecutive Tuesdays, 17 September, 24 September and 1 October 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The series will also be broadcast nationally in Spanish on Vme, the Spanish-language channel on public television, over six consecutive Fridays, beginning on 20 September.
Latino Americans is the first major documentary series in North America for television to chronicle the history and experiences of Latinos, who have for the past 500-plus years helped shape what is today the United States and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S.
Premiering Tuesday, 17 September, 8-10 p.m. ET on PBS
Episode 1. “Foreigners in Their Own Land” spans the period 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.
Episode 2. “Empire of Dreams” documents how the American population begins to be reshaped by the influx that began in 1880 and continues into the 1940s, as Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans begin arriving in the U.S. and start to build strong Latino-American communities in South Florida, Los Angeles and New York.
Premiering Tuesday, September 24, 8-10 p.m. ET on PBS
Episode 3. “War and Peace” moves into the World War II years and those that follow, as Latino Americans serve their new country by the hundreds of thousands — but still face discrimination and a fight for civil rights back in the United States.
Episode 4. “The New Latinos” highlights the swelling immigration from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic that stretches from the post-World War II years into the early 1960s as the new arrivals seek economic opportunities.
Premiering Tuesday, October 1, 8-10 p.m. ET on PBS
Episode 5. “Prejudice and Pride” details 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.
Episode 6. “Peril and Promise” takes viewers through the past 30 years, with a second wave of Cubans arriving in Miami during the Mariel exodus and with hundreds of thousands Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans fleeing civil wars, death squads and unrest to go north into a new land — transforming the United States along the way. The debate over undocumented immigrants flares up, with a backlash that eventually includes calls for tightened borders, English-only laws and efforts to brand undocumented immigrants as a drain on public resources. Simultaneously, the Latino influence is booming in business, sports, media, politics and entertainment.
The Latino Americans production team, most of who are Latino Americans, includes individuals who are of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran and Dominicans heritage, among others. In addition to Bratt as the narrator, the musical score for Latino Americans is by award-winning composers Joseph Julián González, a native of California’s Central Valley of Mexican descent, and Claudio Ragazzi, a native of Argentina; and the acclaimed singer-songwriter Lila Downs, born in Oaxaca, Mexico, serves as the featured artist for the series, performing the closing song in Latino Americans.
A companion book by Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for PBS Newshour, will be released to coincide with the series.
PBS Television Website
Detailed schedule information:
17 September, 24 September and 1 October 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings).