“Patriots From the Barrio” author makes an appearance at Centennial Museum

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“Patriots From the Barrio” author makes an appearance at Centennial Museum

Alexia Nava, Reporter

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Author Dave Gutierrez, who wrote “Patriots from the Barrio,” gave a book talk Jan. 25 at Centennial Museum as part of its exhibition regarding World War II from an El Paso perspective.

“Patriots from the Barrio” talks about what Mexican-American soldiers went through in their journey during the war.

“I wanted the reader to understand what was happening to these men of our greatest generation who grew up during the Great Depression,” Gutierrez said. “I do give a little insight on the Great Depression, the Mexican repatriation when the United States government was sending Mexican-American citizens back to Mexico during the Great Depression. And a lot of people don’t know that. I wanted to make sure that the readers understand what was happening in Texas during this time, so that they get better understanding of what was happening to these men before they went off to war.”

According to Samantha Winer, curator of collections and exhibits at the Centennial Museum, Gutierrez was invited to give the book talk because most of the Mexican-American soldiers in Company E covered in his book came from Segundo Barrio, which gives the exhibition a stronger local focus.

“A lot of people know about World War II, the fighting, and a lot of people know about the home front, but not that many people know how El Paso was different and how it affected us here, locally,” Winer said.

Company E was a part of the 36th Division and 141st Infantry Regiment, the oldest one in Texas, dating back before the Alamo. It was also part of the worst battles through the Rapido River in Italy, where many either died or became war prisoners in the hands of the Germans.

The “Rations, Rights, and Rivets” exhibition, which has been in the Centennial Museum since Sept. 15, illustrates—through newspapers, posters, paintings, and excerpts­—how World War II impacted El Paso. The exhibition starts with the newspapers talking about Pearl Harbor and how rationing was a part of war.

The exhibition also shows how UTEP, then the College of Mines, dealt with the war at the home front. There are excerpts from early articles written by The Prospector that published some propaganda and kept students up-to-date with the war.

The “Rations, Rights, and Rivets” exhibition runs through April 13. There will also be two book signing events by Gutierrez: 1-3 p.m. April 21 at Peppe’s Restaurant, 6761 Doniphan Drive, Canutillo, Texas; and 5:30-7 p.m. April 21 at Wine Attitude, 6404 N. Mesa St.

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