WT to host CSAW’s Forgotten Frontera events starting Wednesday

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 12:24 PM CDT
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CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - West Texas A&M University will host several discussions for the Center for the Study of the American West this Wednesday and Thursday.

WT officials say Dr. Valerie A. Martinez, associate professor of history at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, is the keynote speaker for CSAW’s “Forgotten Frontera: The Mexicanidad” events Sept. 20 and 21.

Martinez will take part in a community discussion Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Innovation Outpost, 1220 S. Polk St. in Amarillo. Also participating are emcee Mary Bralley, president of Los Barrios de Amarillo; Dr. Tim Bowman, head of WT’s Department of History; and Irma Ornelas Walker, an Amarillo community member.

A reception catered by The Brunch Truck will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Martinez will then give an interactive lecture, “Building the Southern Plains: Migrantes and Mexicanidad,” at 7:00 p.m. Thursday in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex Recital Hall on WT’s Canyon campus. A reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. with light snacks.

WT officials say both events are free to the public.

Martinez defines “Mexicanidad” as the “embodiment of a person’s ‘Mexicanness’ in their daily life.” As the daughter of a migrant worker father and descendant of other migrants on her father’s side in the Lubbock area, Martinez earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Tech University, where her thesis focused on Panhandle and South Plains-area braceros.

Martinez’s presentation precisely fits CSAW’s Forgotten Frontera initiative, which focused on the Mexican American Southern Plains in its first year and shifts to the Mexicanidad experience in its second, says Dr. Alex Hunt, CSAW director, Regents Professor of English and Vincent-Haley Professor of Western Studies.

CSAW, an acclaimed research arm of WTAMU, won a $150,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2022 for its Forgotten Frontera initiative.