Speaker and Scholar Jim Turner shares his story of traveling through Southern Arizona
In the five years I’ve been an Arizona Humanities (AH) Road Scholar I’ve had the privilege to meet some terrific hosts and take part in some wonderful events. However, I’m still amazed at how rural Arizonans mix energy, teamwork, and innovation to bring the humanities to their area.
Betty Barr and the dedicated volunteers at the Bowman and Stradling History Center and the Cowbells in Sonoita, Arizona pulled out all the stops to make their Saturday, February 1st Smithsonian’s Journey Stories shindig one of the best I’ve ever been part of. I was honored to share the podium with fellow Road Scholar Patricia Preciado Martin, an excellent author, oral historian, and chronicler of Mexican settlement in southern Arizona.
Even though it threatened to rain, hundreds of people showed up for the big event. The big room at Pioneer Hall was filled with tables, and the volunteers provided free albondigas soup and homemade tortillas to feed the masses.
I gave my talk on Spanish and Mexican land grants and the Homestead Act at 1 p.m., followed by Patricia Preciado Martin’s talk on Mexican settlement at 1:30. The talks went well, and both of us fielded questions from the stage and after the presentations.
This event, and the many events that took place at the Patagonia Library and other locations throughout are a fine example of how Arizona Humanities, the Smithsonian, and The National Endowment for the Humanities work in harmony with local residents to provide humanities programs that always educate, entertain, and inspire.
About Jim Turner
Before retiring from the Arizona Historical Society, Jim Turner worked with more than seventy museums in every corner of the state. He wrote the pictorial history book, Arizona: Celebration of the Grand Canyon State, is a part-time editor for Rio Nuevo Publishers, and writes articles for magazines and newspapers. Turner moved to Tucson in 1951, earned a master’s degree in U.S. history from the University of Arizona, and has been researching, writing, and teaching Arizona history for almost forty years.