Explosive emotions and complex realities exist behind Arizona’s headline-grabbing struggle with illegal immigration.
The heroic struggle of Mexican Americans from Texas to dismantle the discrimination targeted against them.
Carlos Sandoval is the co-director/producer of the award-winning documentaries, A Class Apart (American Experience 2009, Imagen Award) and Farmingville (P.O.V. 2004, Sundance Special Jury Prize). A lawyer and writer, Sandoval's work has appeared in such publications as The… New York Times and has been included in anthologies. His experience as a lawyer includes telecommunications and complex litigation. Prior to attending law school, Sandoval worked on immigration and refugee affairs as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, and as a program officer for The Century Foundation.
Peter Miller has worked as a producer on several of Ken Burns’s films including the series The War, the Jazz series, and the Peabody Award-winning Frank Lloyd Wright. His own work includes the just-released Sacco and Vanzetti,The Internationale (Oscar short-list), and… Passin’ It On (shown on P.O.V., winner of over 20 film festival prizes). Miller was a producer on Barbara Kopple’s Academy Award-winning American Dream, and has worked on dozens of other historical and social issue documentaries.
In 1951 in the town of Edna, Texas, a field hand named Pedro Hernández murdered his employer after exchanging words at a gritty cantina. From this seemingly unremarkable small-town murder emerged a landmark civil rights case that would forever change the lives and legal standing of tens of millions of Americans. A team of unknown Mexican American lawyers took the case, Hernandez v. Texas, all the way to the Supreme Court, where they successfully challenged Jim Crow-style discrimination against Mexican Americans. A Class Apart dramatically interweaves the story of its central characters — activists and lawyers, returning veterans and ordinary citizens, murderer, and victim — within the broader story of a civil rights movement that is still very much alive today.