February 9, 2004
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

The important threads woven into Kern County’s social fabric by the Basque migration in the late 19th century will be examined by California State University, Bakersfield’s next History Forum, sponsored by the CSUB History Department.

Jeri Echeverria, interim provost and history professor at CSU Fresno, will discuss “Bakersfield's Boarding Houses: Hub of Basque Settlement” on Friday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. in the Albertson Room adjacent to the Doré Theater on the CSUB campus.

Echeverria is author of “Home Away from Home: A History of Basque Boardinghouses,” published in 1999 by the University of Nevada Press in Reno; and co-editor, with Richard W. Etulain, of “Portraits of Basques in the New World,” also published by the University of Nevada Press.

“Basque boardinghouses provided the center of the community formed by immigrants who came from the Basque region of France and Spain in the 19th century,” Echeverria said. “The boardinghouses eased the transition to American life by minimizing cultural shock and allowing immigrants to enjoy the companionship and support of their countrymen. They served as informal employment agencies, as recreational centers, and as social and cultural centers.

“Bakersfield’s boardinghouses served as the hub of the local Basque community and serve as an example of the institutions that deeply shaped the Basque experience in the American West.”

The History Forum talk is free and the public is invited. Refreshments will be served. For more information, please call the CSUB History Department at (661) 664-3079.