Pleas and Petitions

Updated: Jul 28

Hispano Culture and Legislative Conflict in Territorial Colorado




Noted Author Virginia Sánchez will discuss her recent book Pleas and Petitions Hispano Culture and Legislative Conflict in Territorial Colorado


On Saturday March 26th at 2pm the Museum of Friends, 600 Main Street, in Walsenburg will introduce Virginia Sánchez  to discuss her most recent book Pleas and Petitions Hispano Culture and Legislative Conflict in Territorial Colorado that sheds new light on the political obstacles, cultural conflicts, and institutional racism experienced by Hispano legislators in the wake of the legal establishment of the Territory of Colorado. The book reexamines the transformation of some 7,000 Hispano settlers from citizens of New Mexico territory to citizens of the newly formed Colorado territory, as well as the effects of territorial legislation on the lives of those residing in the region as a whole.


Sánchez highlights the struggles experienced by Hispano territorial assemblymen trying to create opportunity and a better life in the face of cultural conflict and the institutional racism used to effectively shut them out of the process of establishing new laws and social order. For example, the federal and Colorado territorial governments did not provide an interpreter for the Hispano assemblymen or translations of the laws passed by the legislature, and they taxed Hispano constituents without representation and denied them due process in court.


The first in-depth history of Hispano sociopolitical life during Colorado’s territorial period, Pleas and Petitions provides fundamental insight into Hispano settlers’ interactions with their Anglo neighbors, acknowledges the struggles and efforts of those Hispano assemblymen who represented southern Colorado during the territorial period, and augments the growing historical record of Hispanos who have influenced the course of Colorado’s history.


This program is made possible through the generous support of the Colorado Humanities, Colorado Creative Industries and local support of Code of the West Realty. Light refreshments will be provided and the book will be available for purchase and signing.


Virginia Sánchez is an independent scholar who has presented her research to the American Society for Ethnohistory, the New Mexico Historical Society, and genealogical societies in New Mexico and Colorado. She is the author of Forgotten Cuchareños of the Lower Valley and the winner of the 2011 Miles History Award from the Colorado Historical Society and the 2018 Gilberto Espinosa Prize for Best Article in the New Mexico Historical Review. Her work has been published in the New Mexico Historical Review and New Mexico 


Public Program at the Museum of Friends Saturday March 26th at 2 pm



Click to view a two minute trailer of the presentation.

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