Latino Americans

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA), was a nationwide public programming initiative that supported the exploration of the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country's largest minority group.

Read the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History Final Report: [View single-page layout] [View spreads layout]

More than 200 grantees around the country —libraries, museums, state humanities councils, historical societies and other nonprofits selected through a competitive application process —received funding, resources and support to host festivals, collect oral histories, facilitate informed discussions and hold other public events about Latino American history and culture between July 1, 2015, and July 1, 2016. All grantees also held scholar-led viewing and discussion events that featured the documentary film "Latino Americans," supported by an NEH grant and created for PBS by the WETA public television station.

Below is a sampling of the programs that were held in 2015-16 as part of Latino Americans: 500 Years of History:

  • Durham County (N.C.) Library hosted an exhibit about the contributions of Latino military servicemen and women since the Civil War.
  • Grand Performances, a presenter of free performing arts in southern California, hosted screenings, discussions and recorded story circles on topics including Latina feminism, the importance of grassroots leadership and the value of arts and culture in emerging communities.
  • Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, Calif.) commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Delano grape strike with a three-day symposium about the farm workers movement.
  • The Fort Worth (Texas) Human Relations Commission collected stories and artifacts from Fort Worth's Latino community, culminating in an open house displaying the collection.
  • The Pioneer Valley History Network, a consortium of historical societies, museums, libraries and sites in western Massachusetts, created bilingual museum exhibits centered on current issues facing the area's growing Latino community.
Find a Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant site in your area.

The cornerstone of the project was the six-part, NEH-supported 2013 documentary film, "Latino Americans." The award-winning series chronicles Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. ("Latino Americans" is available for purchase, with public performance rights. Learn more about the series here.)

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History was part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which is designed to demonstrate the critical role humanities scholarship can play in our public life.

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