Mi feria es su feria: How Mexican Americans Created the 1968 San Antonio HemisFair

Gene Thomas Morales, University of Texas at El Paso


In 1968, HemisFair became the first world’s fair to be held in San Antonio, the United States Southwest, and to be recognized by the Bureau of International Expositions. Countries from around the globe were brought together by a shared commitment to democratic unity, Pan-American friendship, and to celebrate San Antonio’s 250th anniversary. San Antonio Fair Inc., the group in charge of the fair’s construction and production, worked closely with community leaders, the Texas state government, and the U.S. federal government to create the exposition. The fair’s theme would be called Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas. Confluence for the fair meant the merging of the United States and Latin American societies. For communities of color in San Antonio and Latin American groups abroad, confluence became rhetoric that cut across international borders but did not cut through race and class in the United States or competing political ideologies during the Cold War. To make this theme a reality, federal, state, and civic officials adopted pre-WWII measures of cultural diplomacy and Pan-Americanism, administered by middle-class Mexican Americans, to invite countries of the Western Hemisphere to participate. Pan-Americanism was the idea that all Western Hemisphere people shared the same American identity regardless of nationality. As a result, HemisFair provides an ideal case to explore the factions within San Antonio, U.S., and global societies and to understand how the idea of confluence was a mask to cover up the real history of class, ethnic, civil rights, and national tensions and divisions. These are among the major issues discussed in this dissertation.

Subject Area

Hispanic American studies|Political science|American history

Recommended Citation

Morales, Gene Thomas, "Mi feria es su feria: How Mexican Americans Created the 1968 San Antonio HemisFair" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27998903.