latino-history

If Latin America had not been pillaged by the U.S. capital since its independence, millions of desperate workers would not now be coming here in such numbers to reclaim a share of that wealth; and if the United States is today the world’s richest nation, it is in part because of the sweat and blood of the copper workers of Chile, the tin miners of Bolivia, the fruit pickers of Guatemala and Honduras, the cane cutters of Cuba, the oil workers of Venezuela and Mexico, the pharmaceutical workers of Puerto Rico, the ranch hands of Costa Rica and Argentina, the West Indians who died building the Panama Canal, and the Panamanians who maintained it.
—  Juan Gonzalez - Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America

Origins of National Hispanic Heritage Month

On June 11, 1968, California Congressman George E. Brown, together with 19 cosponsors, introduced House Joint Resolution 1299, authorizing the President to proclaim annually the week including September 15 and 16 as “National Hispanic Heritage Week.”

President Johnson’s Proclamation 3869, National Hispanic Heritage Week, 1968. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

The purpose of the resolution was to give recognition to the Hispanic influence and the role of Hispanic people in American history. It called on the people of the United States to observe the week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Congressman Brown’s original resolution mentions the states, cities, and towns with Hispanic names; the roles of Hispanic people in developing cities, towns, and regions; and the considerable population bearing Spanish surnames.

The legislation asserts the United States’ wish to attain mutual understanding, respect, and appreciation of the cultures, heritage, and arts of our neighbor nations. President Richard Nixon later emphasized this point in his proclamation of September 12, 1969, stressing the importance of ties with the United States’ Latin American neighbors.

H.J. Res. 1299, 90th Congress, as introduced. (Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives)

The resolution further states that the “Spanish surnamed population has contributed the highest proportion of Medal of Honor winners through acts of bravery and determination in the defense of our land.”

The proposed week included the dates of September 15 and 16. September 15 is the day when five Central American nations, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, celebrate their independence from Spain in 1821. September 16 is Mexican Independence Day, commemorating that country’s independence from Spain in 1810.

H.J. Res. 1299 made an easy passage through the House, with one amendment to delete the supporting clauses in the resolution in favor of a short and concise text. It was sent to the Senate, where it was referred to the Judiciary Committee and reported out without amendment.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law on September 17, 1968 (Public Law 90-498).

Johnson issued his first proclamation on National Hispanic Heritage Week the very same day as he signed the legislation. Proclamation 3869 calls “the attention of my fellow citizens to the great contribution to our national heritage made by our people of Hispanic descent—not only in the fields of culture, business, and science, but also through their valor in battle.”

Twenty years later, in 1988, S. 2200 was introduced by Senator Paul Simon (Democrat–Illinois) to extend the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration.  Simon’s bill passed Congress and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, on August 17, 1988 (P.L. 100-402).

Since 1988, we have celebrated the rich and vibrant Hispanic culture and history with National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15.

Read more at Origins of National Hispanic Heritage Month | Pieces of History

Visit the National Archives Hispanic Heritage Month page for resources on related records and how we are commemorating the month.

daily reminder that auston matthews is mexican american & the highest drafted latino in nhl history who further made history by scoring 4 goals in his debut game. auston matthews is  mexican american & the highest drafted latino in nhl history who further made history by scoring 4 goals in his debut game. auston matthews is mexican american & the highest

4

Happy Birthday  Gloria E. Anzaldúa!

September 26th is the birthday of  Chicana dyke-feminist, tejana patlache poet,  and cultural theorist from the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004).  

 Anzaldúa is known for writing and editing pivotal, intersectional feminist works, including her most famous book,  Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987). In 1995, Anzaldúa was the first participant in the UWM Student Union Distinguished Lecture Series with her talk Aliens: The Dynamic Construction of the U.S. Chicana/Latina Experience. We were so happy to find something on Gloria in our collections–she is loved by many a librarian and archivist at UWM <3

From the UWM Student Union Collection, UWM AC 124, Box 39, Folder 10.

on this date in 1981, the new york times printed an article with the headline “rare cancer seen in 41 homosexuals.” this headline is historic because it is the first mention of what would become the hiv epidemic. at this time, on this date in 1981, the epidemic didn’t have a name. 

even after 36, it is still chilling to read this headline because it is a sobering reminder of all that the world didn’t know about hiv. what caused it? how to treat it? we didn’t know shit! it took three years to identify HIV. three years to find out that it wasn’t cancer. however, in those three years, stigma, blame, and shame didn’t need a name to thrive. many died not even knowing the name of the disease that robbed them of breath and humanity. 

this headline is historic because it is the first mention of what would become the hiv epidemic. 

36 years later we know so much. we have survived so much. we now have life-saving meds. we now even have PrEP - the pill that helps to prevent hiv infection. this is huge because, in 1981, treatment for any virus was rare, yet alone a virus that was virtually unknown. 

we still have work to do. we still have to shift culture and we still have to fight health care and access. we still have to fight to live. but we know so much more now than we did on july 3, 1981.

today marks the 110 birthday of frida kahlo. the brilliant and legendary mexican artist continues to inspires us to be beautiful and colorful in chaos and pain. she continues to remind us that we can paint and recreate ourselves every single day.

happy birthday, frida!

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me
who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” - Frida

10

     Maria

Maria is a photography project created by Turkish photographer Pinar Yolaçan. Pinar traveled to the Brazilian Island of Ithaparica in the state of Bahia, a 40 minute boat ride from the capital city of Salvador. The subjects of her portraits are all Afro-Brazilian women ranging from the ages of twenty-seven and ninety. 

“I found a lot of inspiration in the African culture: Salvador was once the largest port for the slave trade in the New World, and while Ithaparica is one the poorest islands in Brazil’s rural northeast, people seemed very eccentric and sophisticated.”

[Mara is] a very common Portuguese name of course, and is either the first or second name of almost all the women I photographed in Bahia, and of course, the icon of Mary is ever-present in Bahia. Women wear necklaces with the Virgin Mary’s face on them and decorate the walls of their homes and stores with her image. Obviously none of my models look like these traditional depictions of Maria, so I am referring to this religious icon when I call the women Maria. The title is also a commentary on the colonial process of renaming (or creating an identity for) people.”

“The women’s garments are made out of fabric I bought in local fabric stores and of placenta and other animal parts that I bought in Salvador’s São Joaquim market. I was particularly interested in placenta because it’s a female organ that develops during birth. Most of the clothes are inspired from the Baroque era and Portuguese colonial style architecture in Salvador. There is also lots of draping - similar to biblical statues.”

- Pinar Yolaçan

4

21st January 1962: Stripped to the waist, Argentine-born revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara (1928 - 1967), who waged guerrilla warfare with the Castro brothers, helps workers on a low cost housing project near Havana. At that time he was the head of the Cuban National Bank as well as Minister of Industries. 

Photos by Alan Oxley

The four most populous states– California, New York, Texas, and Florida–contain more than 60 percent of the nation’s Latinos. In both California and Texas, one of every four residents is Latino.
This demographic shift is so massive it is transforming the ethnic composition of the country and challenging key aspects of its accepted national identity, language, culture, and official history, a seismic social change that caught the power structures and institutions of U.S. society unprepared. Instead of seeking to address the causes of that change, those institutions attempted in the 1990s simply to repress and reverse it.
Not too long ago, Latin American was thought of as an exotic and beckoning backyard for U.S. power and influence, a series of nondescript banana republics and semicivilized nations were Americans often ventured for adventure or for vacations or to accumulate cheap land or make huge fortunes. The region’s hapless government became perpetual prey to the intrigues of competing circles of U.S. bankers and investors and to the gunboat diplomacy of U.S. presidents. But now Latino migrants, the product of those old inequities have invaded the North American garden, kitchen, and living room. We are overflowing its schools, even its jails.
That mushrooming presence has sparked enormous insecurity among citizens of European descent, a disturbing number of whom started to believe in the 1990s that the country was under attack by modern-day Huns, hordes of Spanish-speaking “barbarians at the gate.” They saw images of Mexican street gangs in Los Angelges and Phoenix, Puerto Rican unmarried mothers on welfare in New York and Boston, Colombian drug dealers in Miami, or illegal Central American laborers in Houston and San Francisco. These immigrants, they were told in countless news and were disproportionately swelling the ranks of the country’s poor.

(to be continued…)

—  Harvest of Empire.  Juan Gonzalez
Sad headcanons - John

Being both gay and Latino, he’s got a history with slurs

  • he’s been called everything under the sun, and he really doesn’t take offense to it anymore

except when they get creative with the names; that’s when he laughs

  • he just thinks it’s funny because like ?? they’re gonna call him out on something he can’t control? “bitch, I’ll show you something you can control; your fucking sense of style those shoes don’t match that shirt u cranberry fucknut”

but there was this one time when Laf and him got into a huge fight

  • like… probably the biggest one out of any of you have ever gotten in

long story short; laf thought he was cheating because of some deleted texts, he wasn’t, it all went to shit

And Laf just started spewing shit because he was so angry

  • “You are such a fucking slut, John, keep it in your Goddamn pants for once. What’d those texts say, huh? You like the taste of his cock-”
  • “You know i didn’t-”
  • “-He liked the way you moan when you cum? Huh? Is that why you hid them?!”
  • “Laf, it wasn’t fucking like that, you know that!”
  • “You are a whore, John Laurens.” Alex gave a cry as Laf pushed John to the ground. “A fucking faggot!”

And John cried. Right then and there, he broke down and just started sobbing and crying and begging him to forgive him, even though he didn’t cheat

  • John’s like that; he’ll accept being wrong if it means he avoids being beaten - even though he trusts you all to never lay a finger on him
  • Alex says it’s because the word means pain for him, and hearing it from someone like Laf, someone he loves so goddamn much, hurt too badly, so he caved and panicked
  • It’s a side effect of living with his abusive father for so long; the same father that would call him that word and then beat him black and blue

Speaking of his father;

  • He calls John at weird, random times - usually in the middle of the night - to screech at the poor boy

John’s too scared to hang up - worried it’ll make him angrier, so he refuses to

  • so you find him crying in the closet at like 1 AM with his phone on speaker and an angry, slurred, southern man screeching at the top of his lungs that he’s gonna “tear that fucking queer family of his apart”
  • He just needs some cocoa and a really long, complete hug

He had an HIV scare in college and didn’t have sex with anyone for almost a year afterwards, scared he’d either get them infected without knowing or be infected (“The early 00’s were a different time, HIV was a death sentence,” He said)

  • He cries when he talks about it
  • He only “did it” again when he met Alex, they both got tested, it was consensual, and he was happy

He had epilepsy and suffered from severe sezuires from about 7 until he was 17

  • He has a panic attack if he gets that feeling of falling again - you know the one; the feeling that makes you kick out when your about to go to sleep or the one where you go over a bump and the tires don’t touch the ground for a moment

His dad wasn’t the best about it though

  • He doesn’t talk about his dad much, but one thing you did know was that he hated John more because of his condition
  • You heard him talking to Alex one night - he was incredibly drunk, and John’s known Alex since high school; he’ll tell him anything if he’s drunk and depressed
  • “Yeah, he used to - hiccup - used to beat me for it; not - hiccup - not during it but you know, I was still - hiccup - out of it after and - hiccup… That bitch hated me.”

He tried to kill himself in high school - Alex stopped him

  • But he’s still got these really deep, white scars from when he was like 15-16 and his dad would beat him senseless nightly

He cried the one time he told you about it, but he still writhes in his sleep muttering shit like ‘hang’ or 'cut’ and it’s really unnerving

  • He’ll scream and sob if you wake him up though; like he doesn’t know where he is
  • But some nights you have to because he’s practically sobbing

he can cry in his sleep

  • and he does it
  • a lot

Holidays aren’t his thing

  • he won’t celebrate his birthday because his mom used to make a big deal out of it and he can’t bear the guilt
  • And he doesn’t like Christmas because he can’t go home for the holidays, so you always make sure to remind him to call everyone back home - minus his father - and send them gifts
  • You guys make a big deal out of New Year’s though

He likes the glitter and noise-poppers, and stays up to watch the fireworks on TV 

  • (and then cuddles and comforts and drinks tea in the closet with all you guys while Alex sobs over the noise the fireworks make)

he’s a very broken boy, please be careful with him