Latino-American history to be celebrated on campus

Franchesca Perez
Staff Writer

The Troy University Libraries have been chosen as a recipient for the $3,000 “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” grant.
The grant is being awarded through the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.
As one of the 203 recipients of the endowment, Troy will be using the grant to hold events such as book discussions and movie screenings that are free to the public, which explore and promote Latino-American history and culture on the Troy, Montgomery and Dothan campuses.
In addition, the Troy Libraries will receive and showcase a six-part documentary entitled “Latino Americans.”
The documentary covers the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day.
Christopher Shaffer, dean of Troy University Libraries, said that he believes that this grant will allow people to be introduced to a culture that is diverse, rich in history, and looking for their own American dream.
“The United States’ population is rapidly diversifying, and so is our economy,” Shaffer said. “To be prepared for a future in today’s workforce, it is important that our students gain as much understanding of other cultures as possible.”
Coale Jordan, a junior history major from Brewton, said he is excited to see Troy taking an active role in teaching history.
“It’s important to know where people and cultures started and how they have developed over time,” Jordan said.
Josh Bailey, a senior English and history double major from Cullman, stressed the importance of studying cultures.
“Studying other cultures’ history can help us understand ours,” Bailey said. “Also, with the growing Latin population in the U.S., understanding their history can help to build more comfortable relationships as our cultures blend.”
Another group of Troy University students who expressed excitement concerning the grant is students with Latino-American backgrounds.
Nathaniel Rodriguez, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Comerio, Puerto Rico, stressed the importance for students to be exposed to Latino history and culture.
“We have had our own struggles for equal treatment and the fulfillment of the American dream,” Rodriguez said.
Kevin Portillo, a sophomore global business major from Puebla, Mexico, said that he believes studying Latino-American history could help to eliminate stereotypical, pre-conceived notions of Latino-American people.
“There are such rich cultures full of incredible traditions throughout Latino America,” Portillo said. “And being able to experience a small portion of that could open up the interest of many people to go and travel to these places and witness it firsthand.”
The first event to be held on the Troy campus will be Sept. 15 at 4 p.m., in 105 Patterson Hall. There will be a screening of the film “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History: War and Peace.”
Authors Lila Quintero and Tiffany Sippial will also be holding discussions on their respective books: “Darkroom: Memoir in Black & White,” and “Prostitution, Modernity, and the Making of the Cuban Republic, 1840-1920,” as a part of the series throughout the month of September.

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