Gifts and Grants, Southern Historical Collection, Special Collections

UNC Latino Oral History Initiative Awarded $240,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities

painting by todd drake

From Todd Drake’s “Give Me Eyes: Crossing Borders to the Heart,” a book developed from a community art project with immigrants. Drake has been a frequent collaborator of the Latino Migration Project.

UNC Libraries will be one partner in a Latino oral history initiative that has been awarded $240,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. “New Roots: Improving Global Access of Latino Oral Histories” is a collaborative initiative of the Latino Migration Project, the Southern Oral History Program, and the University Libraries.

The initiative was established in 2007 to document demographic transformations in the American South by collecting stories of migration, settlement, and integration in North Carolina. The collection receives regular contributions of at least 40 interviews annually from UNC scholars through an ongoing research program of the Latino Migration Project at the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives.

Oral histories are archived with the Southern Oral History Program and their collections in the Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina. The NEH grant, which is awarded from the NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources division, will make the New Roots collection accessible to new regional, national, and global public constituencies, particularly within Spanish-speaking Latino and Latin American communities.

Activities will include the creation of a visually engaging bilingual website for public audiences and people who have contributed their stories; a digital catalog and finding aids in English and Spanish; an interactive portal for teachers to share lesson plans; and a dissemination plan with Latino communities, K-16 educators, national and international oral history networks, and Mexican universities in the origin states of migrants living in North Carolina. The project will be based at Carolina and carried out over the course of three years.

“The New Roots project will provide wider access to this record of the many changes affecting North Carolina,” said Richard Szary, director of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library and associate University librarian for special collections. “The bilingual features of the project are especially noteworthy in expanding access and will be a model for similar projects for making oral histories at UNC more discoverable to a wider audience.”

Story and image courtesy of UNC Global


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