Amplified Voice

Documentary tells tale of Mexican social justice activist

While watching the Ballad of an Unsung Hero, we’re struck by how social activist Pedro Gonzalez (no relation to this writer, by the way) would probably rip into the unholy Arpaio-Brewer-Pearce triumvirate if he hadn’t passed on at 99 years old in 1995.

The 1984 documentary uses interviews with Gonzalez and his wife, archival film footage, and vintage sound recordings to follow his life from Chihuahua, Mexico, to folk hero-dom on both sides of the border. Once the telegraph operator for revolutionary Pancho Villa, Gonzalez eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1923, where his stint as a Spanish-language radioman, interrupted by a bum rap that landed him in San Quentin, gave him a voice to speak out about injustices against Mexicans.

Mon., Jan. 24, 1:30 p.m., 2011
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