YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Keeping up with Hispanic Heritage Month, Youngstown State University screened the 1954 film “Salt of the Earth” on Thursday.
The film is about Mexican-American miners protesting unsafe working conditions in New Mexico.
“The Mexican miners said, you know, ‘We need equality, we need equal conditions, labor conditions and everything,’” said Alicia Prieto Langarica, YSU Hispanic Heritage Month.
The movie is based on the actual events of the Empire Zinc miners’ strike. It was shot in New Mexico, just months after the strike.
The movie sparked controversy while being filmed. It was filmed by blacklisted writers and directors and was thought to cause racial disturbances. However, after much success in Europe, it finally premiered in New York a year after it was made.
“The cool part about this movie is that you’re talking about the civil rights movement for the Mexicans, but also the female’s rights movement,” Prieto Langarica said.
The film’s lead actress was even deported during the filming of the movie. Many of the actors in the film were actual laborers and miners.
“We thought it was a good movie to show around here because people here, there’s a Hispanic community but there’s also a miners’ community and there’s also a labors’ community,” Prieto Langarica said.
The screening was open to the public and after the movie was shown a discussion was held about the film.
There are more events coming up to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at YSU. They can be found on YSU’s website.