California – A Land of Many: The Immigrant Experience & Its Legacy

Rancho Los Cerritos’ 2014 lecture series, “California – A Land of Many: The Immigrant Experience & Its Legacy,” focuses on the legacy of key immigrant groups in 19th century California — Spaniards, Mexicans, Chinese, and those who came from many lands in search of California gold.  

The series continues on Saturday, March 8, with the screening of “Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880),” episode I of the PBS Documentary Series on Latino Americans.  Professor Vicki L. Ruiz will then lead a lively question and answer session to further explore the legacy of Latinos in early California history.  The program begins at 10:00 a.m. in the Rancho’s sunporch, and reservations should be made by calling (562) 570-1755.  Admission is $7 ($5 for students) and payable at the door.  

The PBS documentary explores the contributions that mestizo peoples, citizens of New Spain (and later Mexico) made as they ventured north — centuries before the famed covered wagons rolled across the prairies and deserts.  Women and men of many colors and backgrounds established presidios, missions, pueblos, and ranchos. Before the U.S.-Mexican War, over seventy thousand Spanish-speaking settlers called the Southwest home. This film relates the history of these mestizo pioneers, their changing interactions with indigenous peoples and European American newcomers, as well as the economic, political, and cultural transformation of their societies following the Texas Revolution and the U.S.-Mexican War.

Vicki L. Ruiz is Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Over the course of three decades, she has published over fifty essays and one dozen books, including Cannery Women, Cannery Lives, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America, and the three-volume Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. Ruiz was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the first Latina historian so honored.  She is president-elect of the American Historical Association, the flagship organization for historians across all fields representing over 14,000 members.

Future programs in the Rancho’s “A Land of Many:  The Immigrant Experience & Its Legacy” 2014 Lecture Series include:

Saturday, April 12 at 10 a.m.
“The Legacy of California’s Gold Seekers” by Nancy Hendrickson

Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m.
“Building Railroads and Transplanting Chinese Food: Chinese Americans in 19th Century” by Professor Yong Chen, Department of History, University of California at Irvine

About the Rancho:
Rancho Los Cerritos is located at 4600 Virginia Road in Long Beach.  Built in 1844, the adobe home and grounds echo with the rich history of Spanish, Mexican, and American California and with the families who helped transform Southern California from its ranching beginnings to the modern and urban society it is today. The two-story Monterey-style adobe is primarily furnished to reflect occupants and lifestyles from the 1860s-1880s. The site, a National, State and Long Beach Historic Landmark, also includes historic gardens and a research library and archives. The Rancho is operated by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation in private-public partnership with the City of Long Beach.  For more information please call (562) 570-1755, or visit the website at and like us on Facebook


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