The University of North Carolina Press today announced the publication of a special enhanced e-book version of Blowout!: Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice by Mario García and Sal Castro. Produced with the cooperation of numerous individuals and institutions, the enhanced e-book features more than 150 interview excerpts, documents, and photographs, each embedded in the text where it will be most meaningful.
YouTube demo of Blowout! enhanced e-book
First published in 2011, this book tells the story of Sal Castro, a courageous and charismatic Mexican American teacher who helped organize the March 1968 protests in which thousands of Chicano students walked out of their East Los Angeles schools to protest decades of discriminatory education in the so-called “Mexican Schools.” These walkouts—called blowouts by the students—sparked the beginning of the urban Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the largest and most widespread civil rights protests by Mexican Americans in U.S. history.
This fascinating testimonio, or oral history, transcribed and presented in Castro’s voice by historian Mario T. García, is a compelling, highly readable narrative. Beginning with Castro’s experiences as a boy growing up in Los Angeles, the story takes him through a stint in the military, to his career as a teacher, his role as a key leader and facilitator of the blowouts, and his experience as the subject of a week-long sit-in at the offices of the Los Angeles School Board by students and community members who did not want to see him fired from his job because of his activism. Castro expresses his deep commitment to instilling in young Mexican Americans a sense of cultural pride, and to encouraging their aspirations to achieve a college education and full participation in American society.
“Working with the press on producing the enhanced e-book version of ‘Blowout!’ was an extraordinary experience,” García said. “I had never done something like this before. It was my pleasure to provide and review as much material as possible for the enhancements and in so doing begin to understand that in many ways we were working on a new text from the original.”
Browsable and searchable from anywhere in the text, the enhancements include transcripts and additional commentary written by the author. Featuring more than 100 audio and video clips (more than 3.5 hours total) from 10 individuals, including Castro himself, the enhanced e-book brings alive the collective nature of the blowouts through the voices of people who were at the center of the action. The compelling story told by Sal Castro with so much passion, affection, and humor in the original book is inestimably enriched by the inclusion of the voices and memories of the students whose daring and effective direct action he inspired and supported.
“Readers of the enhanced e-book will be introduced to Sal Castro and to the courageous students who participated in the historic1968 ‘blowouts’ or walkouts from the East Los Angeles public schools, perhaps the largest high school strike in American history, in a much more comprehensive and dynamic way,” García said. “The charisma and inspiration of Sal Castro is brought to life much beyond the printed word. The enhanced e-book is a further and fitting testimonial to a major American historical figure and a major historical moment in the history of American education.”
The enhanced e-book is available from the Barnes & Noble Nook Color and Nook Tablet, Amazon’s Kindle app for iPhone and iPad, and Google Play for desktop and laptop computers.
The enhanced e-book is published under the aegis of the Publishing the Long Civil Rights Movement project, which is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The project’s first enhanced e-book was Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark by Katherine Mellen Charron.