'A Class Apart' Makes World Premiere at Museo Alameda

Stunning documentary about legendary Latino civil rights case airs on PBS, February 23

By Ken Slavin
Published on LatinoLA: February 11, 2009

'A Class Apart' Makes World Premiere at Museo Alameda

The Museo Alameda ÔÇô the nation's largest Latino museum and first formal Smithsonian affiliate ÔÇô hosted the world premiere of "A Class Apart," a riveting new documentary by Carlos Sandoval and Peter Miller that tells the story of Hernandez vs. Texas, the nation's first and only Hispanic civil rights case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The painstakingly researched and at times shocking film is narrated by Emmy Award-winning actor Edward James Olmos and features rare film footage, hundreds of historic photographs, and interviews with Latino activists, lawyers and journalists ÔÇô as well as family members of the people involved in the historic legal case. Several prominent San Antonians appear in the film, including San Antonio Express-News columnist Carlos Guerra and Dr. Henry Flores, political science professor and dean of the graduate school at St. Mary's University.

After a series of private screenings across the country, the documentary will air nationally February 23 on PBS-TV's "American Experience."

The case was argued by San Antonio attorneys Gus Garcia and Carlos Cadena and heard by the Supreme Court in 1954, resulting in a unanimous decision to uphold the rights of Mexican-Americans to serve on juries. The decision was written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was still new to the bench and just two weeks later handed down the court's decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.

"This landmark legal battle and its victorious outcome were a turning point in the Hispanic equal rights movement in this country and a crucial chapter in the story of the Latino experience in America. Yet it is a story largely forgotten today," said Eliseo Rios, interim executive director of the Museo Alameda. "We are proud to host the world premiere of such an important film and to help Carlos and Peter bring its message to a new generation."

More than 150 people attended the premiere, which was a fundraiser for the Museo's parent organization, The Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture, and the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for Law and Public Affairs.

For more information on "A Class Apart," visit www.pbs.org. To learn more about the Museo Alameda, including a schedule of upcoming exhibitions, visit www.thealameda.org, or call 210-299-4300.

The Museo Alameda, the first formal affiliate of The Smithsonian Institution, is the nation's largest Latino museum. It is part of The Alameda National Center for Latino Arts and Culture, a non-profit organization that also operates the Alameda Theatre, the landmark Latino movie palace in downtown San Antonio. With more than 20,000 square feet of exhibit space and 11 galleries, the Museo is devoted to telling the story of the Latino experience in America through art, history and culture.

The Museo Alameda is located in historic Market Square at 101 S. Santa Rosa Street, San Antonio, Texas. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday. Admission is free with a suggested donation. For more information visit the Museo Alameda website at http://www.thealameda.org, or call 210-299-4300.

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