SITES Exhibit: Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964

Project: Research project

Project Details


The purpose of our request is to use the SITES exhibit as a backdrop for a wide and far-ranging conversation in Evanston, Chicago, and beyond about the past and present of Latin American immigration to the United States. The 50th anniversary of the end of the Bracero Program seems like the perfect opportunity to accomplish this goal. We believe that debates about comprehensive immigration reform are some of the most important and divisive debates that citizens of the United States and Latin America engage in today, and that an understanding of past debates about the Bracero Program—and how arguments made for and against that Program in the past resonate with contemporary debates—is the best way to approach conversations about immigration reform today. Through the variety of events we are planning—conversations with former braceros, public lectures, film series, dance performances—we also aim to demonstrate the many ways we can enter into conversations about immigration beyond the political arena. We will ask, how can history, film, and dance encourage us to think differently about such a divisive topic? Can they help us bridge the divides that have prevented the passage of comprehensive reform for almost 30 years? On February 20, 2014, the Dittmar Gallery at Northwestern will host an opening ceremony that will feature a conversation with former bracero workers, moderated by Almita Miranda, an Anthropology Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University. On February 27, 2014, the Dittmar Gallery at Northwestern will host a public lecture by Yale University historian Stephen Pitti. From March 6-8, the Dittmar Gallery at Northwestern will host a film series about Latin American immigration to the United States, and the Bracero Program in particular. From March 13-15, the Theatre Interpretation Centre at Northwestern will stage original dance performances inspired by the Bracero Program. Finally, between April 1 and April 27, 2015, the Evanston Public Library will host a series of educational programs related to the Bracero Program and Latin American immigration for Evanston school children and the community at large. We will advertise each of these events at Northwestern, in Evanston, and throughout Chicago—in magazines, newspapers, by distributing fliers, and placing radio advertisements.
Effective start/end date1/15/145/15/14


  • Smithsonian Institution (Letter: December 2, 2013)
  • MetLife Foundation (Letter: December 2, 2013)


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