AUSTIN, Texas – Award-winning author, educator, and public historian Monica Muñoz Martinez, a native of Uvalde, Texas, has been named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year.

Martinez, an associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin, has been recognized for her studies on violence along the Texas-Mexico border.

According to a new story by reporter Megan Menchaca in The Austin American-Statesman, the USA Today award is a recognition of women who have made a significant impact in their communities and across the country. 

“The program launched in 2022 as a continuation of Women of the Century, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote,” the Statesman wrote. 

Menchaca’s story starts this way: 

Monica Muñoz Martinez believes everyone should have access to truthful accounts of their own history – including the dark, difficult or troubling parts.

“Martinez, an associate professor at the University of Texas, has devoted herself to making the history of anti-Mexican violence on the U.S-Mexico border publicly accessible, earning a prestigious MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2021 for her work. 

“The award-winning historian and educator helped start Refusing to Forget, a nonprofit that calls for public commemorations of the murder and oppression of Mexicans in Texas, and Mapping Violence, a digital research project that recounts histories of racial violence in the state between 1900 and 1930.”

The story says Martinez grew up learning about the six-week walkout in her hometown to protest discrimination against Mexican American students in the 1970s.

Martinez has also been featured in Texas Monthly. The headline in feature writer Cat Cardenas’ piece was: “Monica Muñoz Martinez Is Setting the Record Straight on Texas’s History of Border Violence.” The sub-headline stated: “UT historian and newly minted MacArthur fellow wants justice for victims and their descendants.” 

Cardenas penned her feature in September, 2021. 

Cardenas’ story in Texas Monthly started this way: 

“Monica Muñoz Martinez was born and raised in the South Texas town of Uvalde, a hundred miles west of San Antonio. Today, the 37-year-old is one of the world’s top experts on the history of racial violence along the Texas-Mexico border—but she didn’t learn much about her community’s past in school. Only at family dinners and barbecues did she hear about Uvalde’s history of segregated schools, the student walkouts her parents participated in, and the Texas Rangers who came to town to try to suppress their efforts. When she moved away to attend Brown University as an ethnic studies major, she finally learned about her history in a classroom. “It wasn’t until I left Uvalde that I realized it was an important place in the civil rights movement for Mexican Americans,” she says.”

Martinez has an entry in Wikipedia. It states:

“Monica Muñoz Martinez is a scholar of Mexican-American history currently serving as an Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. Martinez was previously the Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and the Texas State Historical Association. She has received praise for her work on several public history projects and her first book, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas was published in 2018 and received numerous awards. In 2021 she received a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation.

“Monica Muñoz Martinez was born in Uvalde, Texas. She received her B.A. from Brown University’s Department of Ethnic Studies and American Civilization and her Ph.D. from Yale University’s Department of American Studies. After completing her doctorate, she conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin with the Center for Mexican American Studies studying the history and legacy of anti-Mexican violence along the Texas borderlands.

Editor’s Note: Click here to go to Monica Muñoz Martinez’s website.

Editor’s Note: Credit for the main image accompanying the above news story goes to The Mellon Foundation.

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