ASU Nielsen Library plans events celebrating Latino Americans


logo for neh grant screenings of latino americans

The Adams State University Nielsen Library has organized two screenings from the Public Broadcasting Service documentary series "Latino Americans." The events are made possible through a National Endowment for the Humanities and American Library Association grant.

Both free screenings will be held on Nielsen Library's second floor and a casual dinner will be served at each show.

"War and Peace (1942-1954)," episode 3 of "Latino Americans," begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11. The episode focuses on Latino American participation in World War II including discrimination encountered before, during, and after the war and efforts to counter it. The film screening will be followed by a scholarly panel session with local WWII veterans, moderated by Dr. Ben Waddell, Adams State associate professor of sociology.

"Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880)," episode 1, begins at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13. The episode focuses on the Spanish Empire period. The film screening will be followed by a scholarly audience discussion led by Dr. Nick Saenz, Adams State assistant professor of history.

Carol Smith, Nielsen Library director, and Jordan Gortmaker, Nielsen Library circulation supervisor, organized the events. "We are excited about the two screenings," Smith said. Gortmaker agreed and added: "We are currently seeking World War II veterans, or their immediate family members, to offer their insight in the discussions that will follow the screening on Veteran's Day, November 11."

The Latino Americans: 500 Years of History book display, a collection of new books celebrating Latino American history, culture, heritage, and achievements will be displayed near the Nielsen Library circulation desk on the first floor through December, 2015.

Gortmaker said a thousand dollars from the grant was used to purchase the new books, currently on display. "We have books specific to San Luis Valley issues as well as national and international subjects." He developed a collection of over 40 books, including novels and poetry, and books on art, history, and Chicano Power. "These copies will enhance our current collection," Smith said. Community members may check out the books with a current Nielsen Library card.

Other event sponsors include the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, which more than matched funds of the NEH grant, and Adams State Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement Center (CASA).

Additional events celebrating Latino Americans are planned for Cesar Chavez Week during the spring semester. Smith said events will revolve around the land, labor, and water struggles here in the San Luis Valley, as well as the achievements of notable individuals from the San Luis Valley.

For more information please email Gortmaker, at