Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program/Poetics of Labor Reading Series

Diana Garcia,
visiting poet-in-resident
at Museum of American History
September 26 & 27

Quique Avilés
local poet-in-residence
at Museum of American History
September 26 & 27

 Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942 - 1964

An exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

September 9, 2009 - January 3, 2010

 Through photographs and audio excerpts from oral histories, this exhibition will examine the experiences of bracero workers and their families while providing insight into Mexican American history and historical context to today's debates on guest worker programs. Begun in 1942 to fill labor shortages in agriculture and the railroads caused by World War II, the bracero program eventually became the largest guest worker program in U.S. history. Small farmers, large growers, and farm associations in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, and 23 other states hired Mexican braceros to provide manpower during peak harvest and cultivation times.

By the time the program was canceled in 1964, an estimated 4.6 million contracts had been awarded. Bittersweet, the bracero experience tells a story of both exploitation and opportunity to earn money. The exhibition draws extensively from the Museum's collection of photographs taken by photojournalist Leonard Nadel in 1956, as well as oral histories, documents, and objects collected by the Bracero Oral History Project.


To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the museum, in partnership with LETRAS LATINAS, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, presents two poets who present selections from their works rooted in stories of migration, labor, and community.

 Diana Garcia 

Quique Avilés

Saturday, September 26 at 11 AM & 2 PM

Sunday, September 27 at 12 noon & 3 PM

at the Exhibition, 2nd Floor, West 

On the National Mall, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.


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