American Latino Heritage Theme Study Recognizes Latino Contributions to the United States
Washington, D.C. – As part of the National Park Service’s mission to tell the full story of America’s history, the Service is releasing the “American Latinos and the Making of the United States: A Theme Study,” which focuses on the contributions of Latinos to our national heritage and culture.
The theme study is a publication of the National Park System Advisory Board and features 17 essays written by nationally recognized scholars addressing the contributions and experiences of American Latinos. It will provide a framework as the Service works with partners and communities around the nation to identify, preserve, and interpret buildings, landscapes, and other sites that tell the story of Latinos in America.
“As America’s storyteller, the National Park Service is committed to identifying the brave heroes, diverse stories and historic places that form the proud heritage of our nation’s history,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “While the National Park Service is already protecting the sites and capturing the stories of the early Spanish explorers and settlements, there are many more contemporary stories that deserve to be preserved and told so that all Americans can understand, appreciate and honor the contributions of Latinos in this country.”
“The National Park System Advisory Board is committed to the principle that the National Park Service should preserve sites and share stories that represent the diversity of the American experience,” said Tony Knowles, board chair. “This report, American Latinos and the Making of the United States: A Theme Study, further supports that commitment and is an important contribution to shaping the nation’s understanding of its complex and diverse history, and to providing direction to the National Park Service’s next century of engagement with the American people.”
“The American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation applauds the efforts of the National Park Service to better document important places, buildings and landscapes where historic events unfolded through this theme study," said Midy Aponte, Executive Director of the American Latino Heritage Fund, which provided funding for the completion of the study. “We are committed to supporting the Service in preserving these special places so that future generations of all backgrounds can learn about our collective history and experience them in perpetuity."
The theme study is organized under four major sub-headings: Making the Nation, Making a Life, Making a Living and Making a Democracy. The essays address many areas of Latino contributions and history representing the full spectrum of society, from labor, law and education to religion, sports, food and medicine.
In 2011, the National Park System Advisory Board formed the American Latino Scholars Panel, a group of prominent scholars to advise both the board and the National Park Service on engaging with communities on how to better tell the story of the American Latino through the National Historic Landmarks and National Register of Historic Places programs. The Latino scholars’ panel, in collaboration with the Organization of American Historians, guided the theme study. Funding was made available in part by the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.
The study is serving as a model for future theme studies that address other communities in the United States, including theme studies currently underway that highlight the Asian American and Pacific Islander and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.
“American Latinos and the Making of the United States” is the latest in a series of more than 65 National Park Service theme studies. Taken together, they provide a comparative analysis of properties associated with a wide variety of American history eras and subjects, such as the fur trade, earliest Americans, women's history, Greek Revival architecture, Man in Space, or labor history.
A link to the theme study and a list of the scholars and essay authors can be found at: www.nps.gov/latino.
About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.