The United States’ Latino population, 35 million strong according to the 2000 U.S. Census, is a diverse mixture of people bonded by a common language, but with roots in different parts of the Western Hemisphere.
“Latinos in the U.S.: ¡Presente!,” a new exhibit at The City College of New York (CCNY), highlights the diverse Latino immigrant groups that have contributed to this rapidly growing Spanish-speaking demographic. It opens February 8 and runs through June 10, 2010, in the CCNY Cohen Library Atrium.
“This exhibit documents the continually rewritten migratory landscape of this country from the Latino perspective,” said co-curator Sarah Aponte, Professor and Head Librarian at the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Archives and Library. “For instance, places like ‘El Barrio’ (Spanish Harlem), which was home to Italian and Jewish immigrants, among others, in the 19th century and to Puerto Rican immigrants in the 20th century, has now earned the nickname ‘Little Puebla’ due to the recent wave of Mexican immigration. There are similar stories throughout the historical and geographic breadth of this nation.”
Daisy V. Dominguez, Reference Librarian at CCNY’s Cohen Library and the other co-curator, pointed out that “Latinos in the U.S.: ¡Presente!” traces the historical and contemporary presence of an estimated 20 different Latino immigrant groups in the United States.
“It does this by highlighting the experiences of some native and Afro-Latino groups and also by showing not necessarily the most numerous populations but some who are potentially unknown,” Ms. Dominguez said. “This includes Chilean miners during the Gold Rush and immigrant Peruvian shepherds in the Western United States today.”
“We hope that the exhibit makes the linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity of the Latino community very clear,” Professor Aponte added.
The exhibit uses primary texts and historical and recent photographs from Washington Heights and other predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods in New York. In addition, it includes cultural objects from the home countries of the immigrant groups that are highlighted. Among these are beautiful handiwork examples of clothing, culinary items, textiles, dolls, jewelry, instruments and masks.
For more information on the “Latinos in the U.S.: ¡Presente!” exhibit, please call (212) 650-7271. City College is located at 138th Street and Convent Avenue in Manhattan.