***For Immediate Release: May 24, 2017***                                           

Contact:  Deborah Amend                                                          

Office:  307.745.3733                                                                    

Cell: 307.760.4914

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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition “Bittersweet Harvest” and Fiesta

Coming to Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site

 

“Mexican farm workers brought to the United States in accordance with the agreement between our two governments…are contributing their skill and their toil to the production of vitally needed food.”

-Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

Laramie -  ¡Celebremos!  Wyoming State Parks and the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site will open its first Spanish/English bilingual exhibit, exhibit “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964,” on Saturday, June 3, 2017.  The exhibit showcases the bracero program the largest Mexican guest-worker program in U.S. history created in 1943 by President D. Roosevelt.  

Facing labor shortages on the home front during World War II, the United States initiated a series of agreements with Mexico to recruit Mexican men to work on American farms and railroads. Mexican nationals entered the United States under the Emergency Farm Labor Program, more familiarly known as the Bracero Program, and work on short-term labor contracts. The program offered Mexican men economic opportunities and much-needed work.  Their contributions to the U.S. have had a lasting impact on the political, economic, social, and cultural landscapes of both nations.

The public is invited to the exhibit opening on Saturday, June 3, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. The Bracero Fiesta is a free event that will feature opening remarks on Wyoming’s connection to the Bracero Program, Mariachi Sol De Mi Tierra music, salsa dancers, piñatas, food, vendors, fun, and more.  The new exhibit runs through Sunday August 13, 2017.  

“Having this remarkable exhibition on display at one of our leading historic sites means so much to our Agency”.  said Domenic Bravo, Administrator, “Telling the story of the bracero is core to our Mission.  Hosting this first ever bilingual exhibit demonstrates Wyoming State Parks’ overarching hope to tell the story of many cultures and how they have contributed to our American way of life.”

The exhibition explores the opportunities that became available to braceros and the challenges that they faced as guest workers during the war years and afterward. Included in the exhibition are 15 free-standing banners featuring oral histories, quotes and photographs by Leonard Nadel. The Nadel photos inspired the museum’s work on “Bittersweet Harvest” and the Bracero History Project, which also includes audio clips of former braceros relating their experiences.

          “Bittersweet Harvest” is organized by the National Museum of American History and organized for travel by SITES. Funding is made possible through the Smithsonian’s Latino Center, which celebrates Latino culture, spirit and achievement in America by facilitating the development of exhibitions, research, collections and education programs.

            Local funding is also provided by Wyoming Territorial Park Historic Association.

            For more information call 307-745-3733.  Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, 975 Snowy Range Rd, Laramie.  Open daily 8am-7pm May – October. www.wyomingterritorialprison.com