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Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, 100 Years in New Jersey

Rutgers University Libraries NEH/ALA Grant Project 2015-2016

War and Peace (1942-1954) Episode Description

World War II is a watershed event for Latino Americans with hundreds of thousands of men and women serving in the armed forces, most fighting side by side with Anglos. In the Pacific, East L.A.'s Guy Gabaldon becomes a Marine Corp legend when he singlehandedly captures more enemy soldiers than anyone in US military history. But on the home front, discrimination is not dead: in 1943, Anglo servicemen battle hip young "Zoot suitors" in racially charged riots in southern California.

After the war, Macario Garcia becomes the first Mexican National to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor for his exploits fighting in Europe, only to be refused service in a Texas diner. The experience during the war pushes Latinos to fight for civil rights back home. A doctor from South Texas, Hector Garcia, organizes the American GI Forum, transforming himself into a tireless advocate for civil rights and the friend of a future president. Although Latinos make significant gains, the journey for equality is far from over.

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