150 biographical essays on Latino Writers and Journalists
Jamie Martinez Wood
Fostering creativity due to adversity or poverty or by breaking rules of stoic propriety, the resiliency and spirit of Latino writers, journalists, and editors bring pride and significance to their heritage. Since European colonization of what would become the United States began in 1542, Latinos have documented both their experiences and the experiences of others. Latino Writers and Journalists profiles 151 Latino Americans, such as Ruben Martinez, Laura Esquivel, and Isabel Allende. This exciting volume profiles the valor and tenacity of the Latino experience - from daily life to fighting prejudice and small-mindedness, teaching children pride in La Raza, and the need for assimilation. Filled with emotion and intelligence, the stories of Latino writers and journalists speak of courage and a love of life as they claim their rightful place in literature and journalism. Entries in this biographical volume focus on poets, playwrights, screenwriters, children's book authors, journalists, editors, publishers, and others who have worked to advance the role of Latinos in this field. Whether an individual was born in the United States or emigrated from such countries as Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, or Spain, each Latino profiled has made significant contributions to the fields of writing and journalism in the United States. Additional features include a bibliography that provides listings of anthologies, biographies, critical studies, and literary movements pertaining to Latino writers and journalists. One subject index allows the reader to search by such subjects as "Chicano movement" and "magical realism." Other indexes organize subjects by their year of birth and by their ethnicity. This entertaining volume is enhanced throughout by numerous black-and-white photographs of the Latino writers and journalists presented.
Latino literature incorporates a multitude of ethnicities and sensibilities that spans at least two centuries. The definition and beginning of Latino literature is debated by scholars, writers, and literary critics. A Latino is a person of Latin heritage living in the United States. Some view the memoirs and written records of the early explorers of the mid 1500s to be the precursor to Latino letters. Others state Latino literature began with the establishment of the United States in the region where the author resides.
There is little biographical information known about the few who composed literature of the exploration and colonization between 1542 and 1800. During this time Mexicans and Spaniards established colonial rule in New Spain, currently known as the American Southwest and South. Many of these Mexican and Spanish soldiers who colonized the area for Spain requested and received large land grants upon retirement from duties, which they turned into ranchos. Living in haciendas, the rancheros enjoyed a bucolic lifestyle from the mid 1600s to the mid 1800s. For much of this time, the Royal Crown strictly prohibited printing and publishing among its colonial dependents. Only letter submitted to government officials reporting on military or secular progression were permitted. For example, it is estimated that 90% of the native population in Los Angeles, California, was decimated by violence and disease within three generations after the Spanish arrived in 1769. In 1785 Mexican governor, Felipe de Neve, wrote and delivered the Code of Conduct, a manifesto establishing proper treatment of California Indians. An occasional journal on the flora and fauna of the new region was written, but little survived. Therefore an oral storytelling began its rich tradition as the forerunner and foundation of Latino literature.