Juan Coronado, SOHA Co-President, will be speaking at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) for the University Forum. It is scheduled for Wednesday March 13. It is sponsored by the History Department, College of Education, Oral History Research Center, SOHA, Phi Alpha Theta, and QUNLV.
“Giving Voice to Chicano Vietnam War POWs through Oral History” brings attention to the sacrifices Latinx veterans have contributed to the U.S. and sheds light on the Latinx experience in the U.S that too often is ignored in history and popular culture.
The Latinx community in the U.S. today is living during difficult social and political times. Despite Latinos playing an integral part in all aspects of U.S. society, including in the military, national rhetoric attempts to shift public sentiments, denies most of the contributions of Latinos and instead demonizes and dehumanizes them. The family separation crisis on the border this year speaks to this type of treatment. Further, Latinx veterans themselves face deportation and have been subject to deportation for quite some time.
Juan D. Coronado has produced the first academic work on Latino Vietnam War POWs. To do so he conducted in-depth oral histories with all surviving Chicano POWs. For several of these individuals, this was the 5rst time they spoke openly of their experiences while in captivity with anyone, including family. Published in 2018, his book I’m Not Gonna Die in this Damn Place: Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War (Michigan State University Press) provides more than an account of the military experience. From a Chicano perspective, this study also brings to life the conflicted era that saw the clashes of several movements, including the civil rights movements, the antiwar movement, and the women’s liberation movement. Coronado’s book has received praise by both academic reviewers and by military periodical reviewers and is intended for wider audiences.
JUAN DAVID CORONADO is a postdoctoral scholar at the Julian Samora Research Institute at Michigan State University. A native of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, he previously taught history at the University of Texas–Pan American. He is the coauthor of Mexican American Baseball in South Texas and serves on the board of the Southwest Oral History Association.