With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

View the Pioneering 1971 TV Series "Chicano" Through the USC Moving Image Archive


“Chicano I & II: The Mexican American Heritage Series” was a groundbreaking television series that first aired in July 1971 on KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. NBC also aired the twenty-program series on its stations in Chicago, New York, Cleveland, and Washington D.C. For the first production of its kind by a national commercial television network, several of California’s first Chicano Studies professors were recruited to examine history and culture from the Chicano perspective as well as to explore contemporary issues facing the Mexican American community. Individual program creators of the “Chicano I” programs were Jose H. Cuellar, Frank H. Cruz, Richard Romo, Carlos Arce, Manuel Ramirez PhD., Tomas Martinez PhD., Ernesto Galarza PhD., Federico Sánchez, Paul Sánchez, Ron Lopez, Simon Gonzalez PhD., and Julian Nava PhD. History professor Frank H. Cruz hosted each of the programs.

Fifty years after the series originally aired, 10 programs comprising “Chicano I” have recently been digitized by the Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive at USC Cinematic Arts’ Hefner Moving Image Archive and are available here online for academics, students, and the general public. While no film exists from the “Chicano II” portion of the series, transcripts of all 20 programs can be accessed at many university libraries: Here

The history of how the series was created is detailed in Frank Cruz’ memoir, “ Straight Out Of Barrio Hollywood: The Adventures of Telemundo co-founder Frank H. Cruz,” which he co-authored with Rita Joiner Soza. If you have questions regarding the Chicano series or Frank Cruz please email cruzmemoir@outlook.com

Episode 1: Aztlan

Host Frank Cruz introduces Jose B. Cuellar, M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, who describes the contributions made by Mexican ancestors in “Aztlan” or as we know it the Western Hemisphere. The program also looks at the cultural influences made and how these influences have affected United States Southwest even in contemporary times.

Read entire article at USC School of Cinematic Arts