Author Dave Gutierrez has produced a well-researched work of non-fiction that examines Mexican-American contributions in WWII. Patriots From The Barrio describes the heroics of Company E, the 141st Infantry from the 36th Texas division of the US Army. This unit was initially composed entirely of Mexican American enlisted men. While engaged in campaigns in Italy and North Africa, Company E sustains appalling casualties against Nazi Germany’s best troops.
Thanks to Azusa Pacific University and their wonderful donors, Richard Webster of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation and Lee Walcott of the Ahmanson Foundation, I was awarded a 2018-19 Keeping History Alive grant to use for an on-campus presentation and classroom resources.
This means after reading Patriots of the Barrio during their study of WWII, my students will be getting a personal visit from the author. They will learn about genealogy research techniques from Dave and engage in student-centered inquiry projects that help them examine untold Hispanic contributions on American battlefields. This project will give them a chance to write those stories, preserve those stories and contribute to the history of their people.
Students will produce oral histories or interviews of family members that can be recorded and shared with the Library of Congress. Further, transcripts of exemplary Hispanic Histories will be displayed in the Library at John F. Kennedy High School. Selected family histories will be recorded on video and shared with parents and families at school events.