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An Authentic Yet Unexpected Take on Cinco de Mayo

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes presents Cinco de Mayo: Latinos in California Respond to the Civil War, May 5 & 6

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: April 25, 2012


An Authentic Yet Unexpected Take on Cinco de Mayo


LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (LA Plaza), in partnership with the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA and Unión de Poblanos en El Exterior (UPEXT) present Cinco de Mayo: Latinos in California Respond to the Civil War, the first exhibition to explore the Civil War roots of this American holiday.

On view from May 5 through August 6, 2012, this exhibition explores the experience of Latinos in the newly formed U.S. State of California. After the U.S. victory in the Mexican-American War, debate roiled over slavery in the newly acquired Mexican territories and over the French assault on Mexico.

Inspired by Dr. David Hayes-Bautista's newest book, Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition from University of California Press, this exhibition examines previously little-known connections between the historical events of the time and the unique American holiday of Cinco de Mayo.

This exhibition features photography, newspaper articles, and objects of the period.

Exhibition background:

Why do Americans celebrate a holiday commemorating a military battle between French and Mexican troops in the town of Puebla in 1862, and conceive of the holiday as Mexican, when it is little acknowledged in Mexico? How has the holiday evolved from the first celebration in Northern California in 1862, to the celebrations of today--which have all but lost the initial meaning? Drawing on research by Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, the exhibition Cinco de Mayo: Latinos in California Respond to the Civil War, explores these questions and outlines the history and Civil War roots of this American celebration.

This exhibition offers new insight into Latino culture in California during the American Civil War. Latinos formed community political organizations or juntas patrióticas to mobilize in support of the Union by forming militias to fight against the Confederacy in the territories. They celebrated the eventual Union victory, mourned the death of Lincoln, and erupted in jubilant celebrations at the withdrawal of French troops from Mexico.

Over the decades, Cinco de Mayo has gradually lost its initial connection with historical events as new waves of immigration from Latin America made their way to California. Its origins in threats posed by the Civil War and the French invasion of Mexico, had meaning for Latinos negotiating a new country and culture that often marginalized them. This holiday continues to resonate through contemporary debates about immigration, language, and power.

Related Public Programming:

Venues include: North Main Street Stage and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Stage
Saturday, May 5, 12pm-9pm

· Enjoy entertainment by El Paraíso Ballet Folklórico, Los Chavos de la Cumbia,
Luna Sur Este, and many more!

· Family workshops, food, vendors and more

· 12pm A theatrical reenactment of The Real Cinco de Mayo, including special musical guest Las Cafeteras

· 3pm Book signing and discussion at LA Plaza with Dr. David Hayes-Bautista

· 4pm Official Ceremony

· 8pm Performance by featured artist Alex Lora of El Tri

Sunday, May 6, 11am-6pm

Enjoy entertainment by Ballet Folklórico from Colima State, Los Chavos de la Cumbia, Luna Sur Este, and many more!

Family workshops, food, vendors and more

Credit:

This exhibition and related programming was co-organized by LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in partnership with the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA and Unión de Poblanos en El Exterior (UPEXT)

Additional support:

Book Signing Sponsor -- White Memorial Medical Center
Additional Sponsors -- Tampico Beverages and Health Net

More info here http://www.lapca.org/





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