Past Event

Latinos in Illinois and the USA: Music as a Cultural History

A Road Scholar Program by Catalina Maria Johnson

Music can be viewed and “read” as a tool that shares the cultural values, roots, and history of peoples. Over the years, numerous Latino musical genres share the concerns of Latinos throughout the years.

For example, there are songs about immigrant woes of the early 20th century to today. Recently, Latinos around the U.S. commented on the 43 student-teachers murdered in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero by creating various songs in different genres.

Photograph: Carolina Sánchez

This program focuses on a broad overview of milestones the last 75 years of music in the Latino U.S. as a way of understanding the history, roots, and concerns of Latinos in this land, with a special emphasis on Mexican and Puerto Rican musicians in Illinois as Latino populations that have profoundly marked the state’s culture and music.

The presentation, paired with slides and musical samples, is lively and focused on participation, discussion, and exploration of complex topics through musical enjoyment!

This event is Free and Open to the public. Registration is required. For more information or to register, please contact Candace Summers at

McLean County Museum of History COVID-19 Policy

Registration will be required to attend and capacity for this event will be limited to 40 people to allow for social distancing. All program participants will be required to wear a facial covering over both the nose and mouth for the duration of the program regardless of vaccination status. During the event, there will be hand sanitizing stations available.

Learn more about Catalina Maria Johnson, Ph.D., this program, and how to book it.