Welcome to the Houston Mexican American Literature Database housed at the Lone Star College – Kingwood campus.
This database is the culmination of students’ hard work in my Mexican American Literature class in fall 2017 and fall 2018.
In fall 2017, Kingwood was reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s flooding. We entered a semester with few materials. So did everyone else in the Houston area. Books were a commodity, even for the faculty. As the rebuilding began, several of us thought – “how best could we serve our students and how best could the college serve its community”?
Houston is one of the most literary cities in the nation with poets, playwrights, memoirists, and storytellers abound. In the Mexican American community, however, there was a long-time writing scene that few outside the scene knew about. Among the Houston Mexican American writing community are nationally recognized and awarded poets, up-and-coming spoken word artists, playwrights with multiple staged plays around the country, and documentarians who use their lens as activism. This vibrant scene told stories and extended not only the tradition of storytelling from their own idols but continued the conversations. These artists stand on the shoulders of others such as Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Tomas Rivera, Gloria Anzaldua, Rudolfo Anaya, Luis Valdez and others.
Our local writers discuss and continue to explore not only questions of identity, assimilation and acculturation, but their work has conversations with the world around them – environmental issues, social justice, education, and violence.
Against this backdrop, the students in Kingwood’s Mexican American Literature class patterned this project after the U.S. Library of Congress archive. The students conducted interviews, recorded these writers’ readings, and collected other things to create this database.
How does this help the community? The information here is free for anyone to read and use as part of a curriculum or lesson.
This is free for anyone to do research or to learn more about these writers.
This is how we help the world, despite a hurricane and floodwaters. We are helping by giving a chance for literature to flourish in the digital age therefore we make it accessible to everyone. Plans are in the works to expand this database. We want this to flourish. Let us know how you’re using this database by tweeting us at @LSCKMexAmLit. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite among our digital stacks.
Professor Icess Fernandez