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Latino filmmaker John Valadez named first CSSW artist-in-residence

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
June 10, 2014

John Valadez

John Valadez

The Center for the Study of the Southwest at Texas State University has announced filmmaker John J. Valadez will be its inaugural artist-in-residence.

During his tenure, Valadez will create a companion book for his landmark PBS film "The Longoria Affair."  The book will be a photographic history exploring the incident that gave birth to the American G.I. Forum and a partnership between civil rights icon Hector Garcia and President Lyndon Johnson. The much-anticipated project promises to bring a stylish and dignified visual palate to the critical role the Mexican-American civil rights struggle has played in American history, bringing new scholarship, voices and perspectives to the topic.

Central to the story of the Longoria Affair is the fascinating relationship between Johnson and Garcia, two stubborn and savvy leaders who forged a path for Mexican American equality from their common experiences in South Texas. It is a story and a friendship that reveals much about the pain and promise of America. 

"It’s amazing to be working at Lyndon Johnson's alma mater," Valadez said. "Texas State University is a place that was critical in shaping Johnson’s ideas about segregation and equality, education and civil rights."

The plan is to publish "The Longoria Affair" in 2015, the 60th anniversary of Johnson's landmark civil rights achievement: the Voting Rights Act, a legislative triumph that Garcia had pressed Johnson on for more than a decade.

In the process of collecting material for the Emmy-nominated "The Longoria Affair," which first aired 2010 on PBS, Valadez collected photographic and documentary sources of exceptional quality that could not be fit into the film. The book project is his effort to make that additional material available to the public.

Valadez is an independent documentary filmmaker, whose most recent award-winning work was two episodes of the Peabody Award winning Latino Americans. Previous writing, directing, and writing credits also include "The Last Conquistador," "Beyond Brown: Pursuing the Promise" and "Matters of Race."

Center director Frank de la Teja said he looks upon the project as an opportunity both to emphasize LBJ’s early work in the civil rights realm and to highlight the center’s work.

"In launching our scholar- or artist-in-residence program we hope to provide opportunities for young professionals doing cutting-edge work in regional studies--such as John Valadez--to share those fresh ideas and perspectives with our campus community," de la Teja said.

About the Center for the Study of the Southwest

The Center for the Study of the Southwest publishes Southwestern American Literature and Texas Books in Review, sponsors workshops, symposia, lectures, readings and exhibits on themes relevant to Texas and the Southwest in collaboration with. The center also manages an undergraduate minor and offers graduate class in Southwestern studies.

For more information on this or other Center for the Study of the Southwest activities, write or call (512) 245-2224.