Looking to raise public knowledge about Hispanic-American history and politics, Houston, Tex.—based Arte Publico, a 20-year-old press specializing in Hispanic literature, is launching a campaign to brand its many books on Hispanic civil rights. The press is also working to publicize its Recovery Project, an effort launched in 1992 to find, index and publish Hispanic cultural documents written in English or Spanish from the 19th century through 1960.
In addition, the press is working with EBSCO, the library information and database aggregator, to digitize these historic documents and make them available to scholars and the public through its library clients.
Nicolás Kanellos, director and founder of Arte Publico, told PW the press publishes 30 to 35 adult, children's and bilingual books a year. "We do a little bit of everything and we've launched the careers of many creative writers."
Titles in the Hispanic Civil Rights series will feature a special logo. Kanellos said the series has published 20 titles on the legal impact of Hispanics on women's issues, immigration, education and race relations and that the public is largely unaware of the Hispanic influence on civil rights. "Much of the legal theory supporting African-American civil rights was based on earlier Hispanic cases," noted Kanellos.
Titles in the series include The American GI Forum by Henry Ramos (1998), the history of an organization formed to fight for equal rights for Hispanic veterans; Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement by F. Arturo Rosales (1997); and Black Cuban, Black American by Evelio Grillo (2000), a memoir of life in turn-of-the-century Florida. New titles in the series are coming in January, and the series will be featured on C-SPAN around the same time.
The Recovery project features about 30 Arte Publico titles, but the project is also responsible for sponsoring scholarly meetings and papers, a biographical database and much more. Kanellos's new 600-page reference work, Herencia: The Anthology of Hispanic Literature of the United States, which is published in English by Oxford University Press and in Spanish by Arte Publico, is a product of the Recovery project. The project has identified about 18,000 books published by Latinos before 1960, and about 700 have been digitized.
"EBSCO sees this project as an opportunity to expand into the Hispanic market," said Kanellos.