In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico

Thursday, November 1, 2012
Room 202, Communication Building, UW Seattle
3:30pm-5:00 pm

“Arturo Madrid has written a sensitive story about the early history of New Mexico, and brought it to life by sharing with readers his family’s experiences. The book is a beautifully written narrative that focuses, from a personal perspective, on several interlacing themes. Madrid blends together the different themes and stories in his narrative to weave a remarkably appealing tapestry. His first person style personalizes the genealogy and history of his family. But in that process he surfaces internal and external forces that uncover the challenges his ancestors endured. When New Mexico was conquered by the US, the economic, political and societal structures changed dramatically. This alone was a major challenge for New Mexico Hispanos who had lived there since before major English settlements along the Atlantic Seaboard. However, add to this the decision by his family to convert from Catholicism to Protestants. Instantly, the Madrids were considered heretics by the Catholic Church, and “the others” by Anglo protestants. The photographs included, all in black and white, lend the appeal of work done by Ansel Adams and paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe. They blend together to strengthen the narrative and provide the reader with a feeling of place and time. The use of Spanish, especially that spoken in New Mexico, adds immeasurably to the book. The old Spanish words and idioms lend a unique and descriptive account of emotions, relationships and environment. Madrid is a master story teller, and a gifted writer.” –Roberto Haro

Arturo Madrid is the T. Frank and Norine R. Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities and Chair od the Executive Committee, Mexico, the Americas and Spain Program at Trinity University in San Antonio. The descendent of a Spanish-Mexican family that settled in New Mexico at the end of the 17th century, Madrid has long been involved in the legal, educational, and cultural affairs of Latinos. In 1984 he founded the Tom s Rivera Center, the nation s first institute for policy studies on Latino issues. He also served as national director of the Ford Foundation s Graduate Fellowship Program for Mexican Americans, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans. Madrid also served as director of the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education and was a member of the U.S. Commission on the Future of Higher Education. He s also a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, the nation s premier foreign policy association. He previously was the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Charles Frankel Prize and many other awards.

Event sponsored by UW American Ethnic Studies; the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the University Book Store.

For more information, call 206-543-5401 or email

15 thoughts on “In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico

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