Ken Burns and Latino Community Battle Over WWII Legacy

The battle between documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and key national Latino groups over Burns’s upcoming World War II series on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has escalated this week, according to an article in the Washington Post. At issue is the fact that there is no mention in Burns’s 14-hour documentary of the role of Latinos in battle, or on the home front, during World War II.

A Latino business organization and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus have asked two major corporate underwriters of the project, General Motors and Anheuser-Busch, to disassociate themselves from the documentary. They are also upset that federal funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities was used to produce the film.

Burns has agreed to add footage to the project to address the concerns raised by Latino leaders, but he and the PBS have refused to re-edit the film itself, which has already been completed. However, Latino groups are unhappy with the plan. They feel that tacking additional material onto the film diminishes the contributions Latinos’ made to the war effort. The documentary is set to premiere in September.