Virginia Tech is partnering with nationally recognized Latino cultural scholars and artists to increase awareness of Latino American history through a grant and programming initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

The grant supports scholar-led viewing and discussion events that feature the documentary film "Latino Americans,” the first major television documentary series to chronicle the history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape North America for more than 500 years.

The University Libraries initiative, which will provide cultural and historical events to the Virginia Tech community throughout the fall and spring semesters, kicks off at 7 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 15, with a public screening of “Latino Americans, Episode Six: Peril and Promise, 1980-2000” in the Newman Library Multipurpose Room at 560 Drillfield Drive. The screening will be facilitated by Laura Gillman, professor of sociology at Virginia Tech, with a discussion following the episode.

“Peril and Promise, 1980-2000” focuses on the changes to the Latino Diaspora in the 1980s as a result of Cuban immigration and the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans fleeing political oppression. The episode also covers the beginning political debate over illegal immigration in the 1990s, globalization, and the emergence of Latino American culture.

The Center for the Arts will also host a special viewing of the episode for high school students as a part of their Youth Engagement Series. The viewing will include a discussion with Virginia Tech professors Petra Rivera-Rideau, Jennifer Bondy, and Nick Copeland.

“This grant is a wonderful opportunity to bring Latino history to the New River Valley,” said Monena Hall, community engagement librarian for the University Libraries. “We are excited by the number of partnerships around campus that this grant has facilitated. Knowing that local high school students will have the opportunity to speak to and learn from campus scholars is truly exciting.”

Additional events and details will be listed at the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History events page.

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History has been made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

Free parking is available after 5 p.m. at the Squires Student Center and Architecture Annex lots along Otey Street. Find more parking information online, or call 540-231-3200. If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Monena Hall at 540-231-5513 during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.