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Conference Reviews Latino Press

Conference Reviews Latino Press

Southern California's first Latino newspaper, a defender of human rights founded in 1855, will be chronicled at a Huntington Library gathering.

The activism and advocacy of El Clamor Público, Southern California’s first Latino newspaper, and the continuing growth of the Latino press and its audience will be the focus of major conference on Friday, Oct. 28.

The conference is presented by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. It will be held at the Huntington Library in San Marino.

“In order to really understand the history of modern Los Angeles, we have to go back to the middle of the 19th century,” said conference co-organizer and historian William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute. “It’s at that exact moment of the American takeover of California that we discover the remarkable newspaper El Clamor Público. The paper was an early, and strident, voice for the civil rights of a new brand of citizen: the Mexican American.”

The daylong conference is free and open to the public through advance registration by Oct. 24. Lunch is available for a prepaid fee. The conference program and registration information are available online at

Founded in Los Angeles in 1855, El Clamor Público staunchly defended civil rights, including those of women, Chinese and African-Americans. The newspaper and its outspoken 18-year-old editor Francisco P. Ramírez urged Spanish-speaking Californios to learn the language of the country whose borders surrounded them.

A morning panel of historians and journalism scholars who have researched the Huntington’s El Clamor Público holdings will discuss the political, religious, literary and social role of a newspaper published for Spanish-speaking Californians as the U.S. was exerting its control over the state following the end of the U.S.-Mexican War in 1848.

“Many historians and journalism educators ignore the rich history of Spanish-language journalism in America,” said José Luis Benavides, a journalism professor at Cal State Northridge who developed the first Spanish-language journalism minor in the nation. “One of the main conference goals is to make this history more visible.”

Following a luncheon speech by Nicolás Kanellos, co-author of the book “Hispanic Periodicals in the United States” and director of the University of Houston’s Arte Público Press, an afternoon panel of Latino news professionals will discuss the growing influence of Spanish-language and other Latino print media in Southern California today.

“As more newspapers across Southern California and the nation publish Spanish-language editions and more magazines target Latino readers, it’s important that we assess the history of the Latino press and its bright future,” said conference co-organizer Félix F. Gutiérrez, a journalism professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication who was the first executive director of the California Chicano News Media Association.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, the USC Annenberg School for Communication, the Cal State Northridge Graduate Studies Program Distinguished Speaker Series and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.