An assistant professor at Texas Christian University, Dr. Melita M. Garza holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and a doctoral degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina. To further her research agenda, Dr. Melita Garza recently received a $1,500 Dean’s Research Grant from the TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication.
The Dean’s Research Grant funded Dr. Garza’s oral history project titled “Journalists in the Long and Wide Civil Rights Movement”, which makes use of oral interviews to explore the impact of journalism as it relates to civil rights reporting. The interview recordings preserve oral testimony for historical purposes based on personal reflection and experience. Often, the taking of oral testimony is more detailed than other interviewing techniques due to the generous amount of time a respondent is given when answering questions. To ensure a sufficient account, the Oral History Association recommends several best practices. These include:
– The use of a room or studio free of noise and other distractions for good quality sound. – The recording of an introduction to summarize the goals of the session. – A pre-planned length for the interview, mutually agreed to by the interviewer and respondent. – The use of questions that are respectful of the interviewee’s wishes, balanced with the necessity of obtaining an accurate historical record. – A signed release form to ensure that the information can be shared.
Dr. Melita M. Garza, a widely published assistant professor of journalism history at Texas Christian University, concentrates on the study of social media and the intersection of media and civil rights. She has received recent acclaim for her work in the field of Latino and Mexican-American studies. In 2017, Dr. Melita Garza appeared twice on the program Movies That Matter Latino, a film series sponsored by the city of Fort Worth.
Each quarter, the free film series invites the public to the screening of a distinguished movie that highlights a Latino experience. After the screening, a panel of experts deepens the context of the film by bringing out additional meanings and interpretations.
Dr. Garza served as a panelist for the films Las Marthas and Ella Es el Matador (She Is the Matador). Las Marthas is a documentary on Laredo’s distinctive debutante ball. Many of the young women who participate are descendants of the region’s first Spanish land-grant holders, and they attend dressed as women from the Revolutionary War era.
Ella Es el Matador documents the struggles of a woman attempting to defy gender stereotypes and be accepted into the ranks of the matadors of Spain. Artes de la Rosa Fort Worth Cultural Center for the Arts collaborates with the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission to present the film series, with additional support from the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, Fort Worth.
Dr. Melita M. Garza serves as an assistant professor at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Her focus is the history of modern American journalism, and she has developed extensive expertise on the topics of Latino and Mexican-American studies as well as civil rights and the social construction of media. Dr. Melita Garza is the recipient of a Latino/Latin American Research Award for a piece she authored analyzing the social media climate surrounding the performance of an 11-year-old Mexican-American singer at Game 3 of the 2013 National Basketball Association finals.
Young Sebastien De La Cruz sang the national anthem at the game, which was held at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. Dressed in clothing reflecting his heritage, Sebastien garnered widespread acclaim for the quality of his performance and his stage presence. It was a moment for pride and celebration in the Mexican-American community of Texas.
However, amid numerous expressions of love and support for Sebastien on social media, a number of users immediately began to write hateful, viciously prejudiced comments. Media outlets, in Spanish and English, reported on the situation in print, on the radio, on television, and online.
Dr. Garza’s article delineated the ways in which media served as a corrective social force. She observed that the media was able to provide broader context and commentary and to reframe the negative comments that would have cast the young singer as an illegitimate performer of the American national anthem.
A sought-after speaker on Mexican American and Latino studies topics, Dr. Melita M. Garza is an associate professor at Texas Christian University. A panelist at the City of Fort Worth’s Movies that Matter Latino: A Human Rights Film Series, Dr. Melita Garza guided a discussion on the film Ella Es el Matador in March 2017.
Ella Es el Matador is a documentary about the journeys of two women determined to dominate Spanish bullfighting. Mari Paz Vega is a Spanish native and the only professional female matador in the country, while Eva Florencia, an Italian runaway, is a novice. In pursuit of their dreams of stardom in the arena, the women learn that their biggest threat is not the bulls but the patriarchal system that surrounds the quintessentially male sport.
Vega comes from a family with a long line of aspiring bullfighters. His father and five brothers all wanted to be matadors but none ever made it past the apprentice stage. Only Vega succeeded in becoming a matador. However, she has never joined the top ranks or found mainstream fame because her male colleagues look down on her and promoters refuse to book her in the grand arenas.
Florencia grew up in Italy and found inspiration to become a bullfighter in pictures from magazines and books. When she turned 16, she ran away to Seville to train as an apprentice bullfighter. Though she’s good, Florencia struggles to get the 25 official matches she needs to become a matador.