Exhibiting Films in a Predominantly Mexican American Market

The case of Laredo, Texas, a small USA–Mexico border town, 1896–1960

Authored by: José Carlos Lozano

The Routledge Companion to New Cinema History

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138955844
eBook ISBN: 9781315666051
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315666051-25

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Abstract

With a predominantly Spanish-speaking or bilingual Mexican American population that has always been the overwhelming majority in the town, Laredo, Texas, offers a distinctive case study in the history of cinema exhibition in the United States. Founded in 1755 by Spanish settlers, the town was first part of the Spanish colony of New Spain (1755–1820), then of Mexico (1821–1848), and finally of Texas and the United States after the triumph of the latter over Mexico in 1848 in the so-called “Mexican War.” A small town of around 3,000 people (almost all of them from Mexican descent) in the 1870s, Laredo, started to grow rapidly and attract high numbers of immigrants from the North during the 1880s, when the railroads arrived in town from both Corpus Christi and San Antonio, connecting to the Mexican railroad reaching Nuevo Laredo (the Mexican counterpart of Laredo, just across the Rio Grande). The geographical position of Laredo (on the most direct route between Mexico City and the East and Midwest of the USA) immediately made it the best choice for the importation and exportation of goods between the two countries.

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