Julian Samora Legacy Project dedicated to legendary sociologist

Author: Dennis Brown

Colleagues, students, friends and family of the late Julian Samora have created an initiative in his name to make a new generation of students, scholars and community leaders aware of the legendary University of Notre Dame sociologists many contributions to Latinos in the United States.

A pioneering scholar of Mexican-American studies, Samora paved the way for Latinos to understand and study themselves at the university and policy-making levels, to understand the complex relationships between Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, to begin the study of Mexican immigration, and to ready the United States for the reality of Latinos as the nation’s fastest growing minority.

The Julian Samora Legacy Project most recently created a consortium of partners to develop, catalogue and distribute material from the Julian Samora Archive at the University of Texas. Under the direction of the University of New Mexico Political Archives, the material will be microfilmed and digitized, and research will be done to develop a curriculum guide, a leadership series, and a video biography and book on Samora. In addition to the Benson Library at Texas, other consortium partners are the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, the National Council of La Raza, the University of New Mexico (UNM), and the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University.

Emmy Award-winning producer and director Raul Rios has completed one phase of the video project. Work remains to be done on a student version for distribution to high school and middle school students.

The book, tentatively titled “Julian Samora: An Intellectual History of Mexican American and Chicano Studies at the University of Notre Dame, 1959-1984,” will be composed of essays by men and women who studied under Samora in the Mexican-American Graduate Studies Program at Notre Dame. The editors—Barbara Driscoll de Alvarado from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Alberto Pulido from the University of San Diego, and Carmen Samora, the sociologist’s daughter and a graduate student at UNM—have been invited to present a panel discussion on Samora at the National Association of Chicano and Chicana Studies conference April 1 and 2 at UNM.

In conjunction with the conference, the Samora Legacy Project will host a reunion of Samora’s students April 2 and 3.

More information on the consortium, reunion and other Samora Legacy Project activities is available on the Web at www.samoralegacy.com .

A native of Colorado, Samora completed his studies at Washington University in St. Louis in 1953 to become the first Mexican-American to earn a doctorate in sociology and anthropology in the United States. He taught and conducted research at Notre Dame from 1959 to 1985, during which time he helped found the National Council of La Raza and served on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and is on the University’s Wall of Honor in the Main Building. The Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies at Notre Dame is held by Gilberto Cardenas, director of the University’s Institute for Latino Studies. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, Samora served on the faculties of the University of Colorado and Michigan State.


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