Saddle Up: Moving Forward, Looking Back travels the Old Spanish Trail
Janire Nájera apparently likes her road trips 19th-century-style. The Spanish photojournalist and curator is taking a cue from Antonio Armijo—who laid the groundwork for successful trade along what's now known as the Old Spanish Trail when he successfully hoofed it from New Mexico to California and back (and managed to make a profit in the process)—with a voyage through northern New Mexico, parts of Utah and Arizona, and into Southern California. For the journey, Nájera's own pack animal of choice is an RV from 1984, a bit of an upgrade from the 100 mules of Armijo's trip in 1829-1830. Her goals are social and artistic in nature as she explores, according to the description on her website, how “the traditions of the first settlers [of European descent] ... have merged with domestic cultures, influencing the creation and identity of today's pueblos and modern cities.”
Nájera's journey began in Santa Fe on March 10, and she's already building a fascinating portrait of modern-day descendants of our region's Spanish heritage. See Nájera's video below featuring Julia Gómez talking about the famous Colcha stitch, and her latest blog entry has another great one with Santa Fe hairdresser Faustino Herrera de Vargas, entirely in Spanish, speaking about his storied life.
Follow Janire Nájera's travels along the Old Spanish Trail at her blog Looking Forward, Moving Back, and keep a weather eye out for the book and photography exhibit that will be the eventual result.
To Kill a Misconception
Alex Heard goes back in time to re-examine an infamous court case
The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South
In his just-released book The Eyes of Willie McGee: A Tragedy of Race, Sex, and Secrets in the Jim Crow South, New Mexico-based journalist and Outside Magazine editorial director, Alex Heard takes a hard look at the court cases thought to have inspired To Kill a Mockingbird. The story is simple: In 1945 a black man named Willie McGee was accused of raping a white woman, Willette Hawkins. While Mockingbird sticks with the original case, in which the accused’s lawyer stands up for him despite race and uncovers a secret affair, Eyes follows McGee’s case all the way to the Supreme Court. Heard’s investigation paints a picture of the segregated South and calls into question the stories of both the defendant and the victim. Hear the rest of the story when Heard speaks at Bookworks this week. The Alibi spoke with Heard by phone last week about the trial, the book and civil rights.