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LLS Invited Lecture: Aja Y. Martinez, “A Latinx (his)Story Worth Sharing: Richard Delgado and the Makings of a Chicano Legend”

Event Type
Department of Latina/Latino Studies
1207 W. Oregon St., Urbana, room 103
Feb 14, 2024   3:30 - 5:00 pm  
Aja Y. Martinez

Abstract: Richard Delgado, a founder of Critical Race Theory (CRT), is the eighth-most cited legal scholar in U.S. history. A theorist and an exemplar of storytelling in the workings of the law, what is less known about Delgado is his story. Born in Chicago in 1939, Delgado’s father, an immigrant from Mexico, moved the family to Mexico City in 1952 to start a branch of a Philadelphia-based company. Here, a young Delgado enrolled in school with the children of the Hollywood Ten; American screenwriters and producers escaping the U.S. from McCarthyism. These foundational experiences eventually launched Delgado back into the U.S. headlong into the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and law school. Through it all, Delgado would become the most unabashedly Marxist-identified founder of CRT. This quintessentially Latinx story about a Chicago-born Chicano, gathered from interviews, oral histories, and collaborative writing with Delgado himself is a tale worth sharing.

Aja Y. Martinez (she/her) is Associate Professor of English at University of North Texas. Her scholarship, published nationally and internationally, makes a compelling case for counterstory as methodology through the well-established framework of critical race theory (CRT). Dr. Martinez is author of the multi-award-winning book Counterstory: The Rhetoric and Writing of Critical Race Theory and is co-author, with Dr. Robert O. Smith (UNT History), of several forthcoming titles on the storied histories of CRT. Dr. Martinez is co-editor and co-founder, with Dr. Michele Eodice and Dr. Sandra Tarabochia (University of Oklahoma), of the transdisciplinary, digital open-access, and multimodal journal Writers: Craft and Context. Dr. Martinez is co-editor, with Dr. Stacey Waite (University of Nebraska) of the University of Pittsburgh Press's series Composition, Literacy, and Culture. Last, Dr. Martinez is the newly elected chair of the Coalition for Community Writers.

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