In the 1970s, there was a divide among the citizens of Pharr based upon economic and ethnic lines, ranging from school zoning to the election of city officials and the appointments to city administration positions. Several residents, mainly Mexican-Americans, felt the Pharr police officers were not serving their community fairly; others felt their voices were not heard by the city commission; and some felt their education at the school district was not enough. All of those different perspectives created a rising resentment toward their own city officials and leaders. In 1971, a number of individuals from the community were at the forefront of a protest outside the Pharr Police Station. However, the organized protest soon turned into a riot that involved the protesters and law enforcement officers and resulted in the death of a young man. Pharr resident and local historian, Eduardo Martinez, will provide one of the many perspectives of this tragic historical event, covering the timeline of events leading up to and the effects of the aftermath of the 1971 Pharr Riot using newspaper archives, interviews, photographs, corridos and videos.
Martinez is a writer, photographer and disc jockey from Pharr, Texas. He is best known for his weekly series “Regional Ramblings” in The Monitor, Pharr From Heaven blog and as a content creator for Neta, a bilingual multimedia platform.
Sunday Speakers Series is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of the Museum are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship.
This program is made possible with generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was deeply committed to supporting educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created at the museum by her family to honor her memory and to continue her commitment to providing opportunities for education to the community.