Bronx Latino History Project

Dublin Core

Title

Bronx Latino History Project

Description

The Bronx Latino History Project is a community-based oral history project currently under the direction of Dr. Melissa Castillo Planas, Assistant Professor at Lehman College, and Dr. Steven Payne, the librarian and archivist at The Bronx County Historical Society.

Background

The Bronx Latino History Project (BLHP) was conceived by The Bronx County Historical Society in 2009, and it yielded a number of research articles and museum exhibits at the Museum of Bronx History during the first decade of its existence. Planning for the heart of the project, conducting oral histories, was started in January 2020 when Dr. Payne began working at The Bronx County Historical Society. In May 2021, Dr. Payne invited Dr. Castillo Planas aboard as co-director, and the oral history component of the project took off. Given the Bronx Latino History Project's close ties with the Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP), it has consciously adopted the community-based model and much else from the latter. Further, sharing and cross-listing of oral histories has and will continue to take place between the two projects.

Status

In total, the Bronx Latino History Project currently includes 37 oral histories, 24 of which were recorded in years prior by the Bronx African American History Project and are dual-listed under the BLHP, and 13 of which have been newly recorded since May 2021. Our current collection includes oral histories with activists, musicians, workers, small business owners, artists, educators, and more.

Goals and Aims

The project aims to include oral histories from every nationality and ethnic group in The Bronx that is commonly identified as Latino. The project has prioritized and will continue to prioritize the experiences of Afro-Latinos, as well as indigenous peoples of Latin American. Although some oral histories will be recorded with more famous celebrities or politicians in the future, the main focus of the project has been and will continue to be on artists, musicians, activists, workers, poets, authors, professionals, residents of public and affordable housing, etc.

The main goal of the project is twofold: 1) to document the span of the diverse, every-day and extraordinary Latino experience in The Bronx from the mid-twentieth century until the present; and 2) to preserve individual and collective histories that might otherwise be lost or forgotten.

After the oral histories are recorded, a transcript is eventually produced, and the oral histories and transcripts are made available freely to the public in the current online database.

Soon, the BLHP intends to form a Community Research Council, which will advise the project on and participate in soliciting and recording oral histories. The Council will be composed of those who have close ties within their various Bronx communities, who have already recorded an oral history, and who are now willing to take on an even more active role in the project.

Methods

The oral histories recorded through BLHP are meant to focus on a person's experience in The Bronx but can certainly go well beyond that as well. We typically start with some version of the question: "Why don't you tell us a little bit about your family background and how your family ended up in The Bronx?" The interviewer tries to ask broader questions and typically intervenes little otherwise, so that the interviewee can largely determine their own narrative.

BLHP usually records both audio and video of the oral history, although the project adapts to meet the needs of individual interviewees. Some oral histories are recorded in person, some over video-conferencing software, and some over the phone alone.

The oral histories can be recorded in English, Spanish, or some combination, depending on what an interviewee is most comfortable with. Many oral histories might take an hour and a half or two to record, although some interviewees end up breaking their oral history into multiple parts, depending on how much and what they would like to share.

Creator

Bronx Latino History Project

Contributor

Castillo-Planas, Melissa
Payne, Steven

Type

Oral history collection

Collection Items

Oral history with Vicente "Panama" Alba, a lifelong revolutionary, fighter for Puerto Rican independence, member of the Young Lords, and more, conducted through the Bronx Latino History Project.

An oral history with Joe Bataan, born Bataan Nitollano, a Latin soul musician, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Part 1, first half, of an oral history with John Byas (DJ Jazzy Jay) and Danny Martinez, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Part 1, second half, of an oral history with John Byas (DJ Jazzy Jay) and Danny Martinez, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Part 1 of an oral history recorded for the Bronx Latino History Project with Elba Cabrera, trailblazing patron of Puerto Rican and Latino art and culture and sister of civil rights activist Dr. Evelina Antonetty. In this part of her oral history,…

Part 2 of an oral history recorded for the Bronx Latino History Project on November 30, 2021 with Elba Cabrera, trailblazing patron of Puerto Rican and Latino art and culture and sister of civil rights activist Dr. Evelina Antonetty. In this part of…

An oral history with Julio Calderón (Illanoiz), conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

An oral history with Luis Cedeno (Louis Lou), conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

An oral history with Joe Conzo Jr., conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

An oral history with Marilyn Cruz, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

An oral history with Caridad De La Luz ("La Bruja"), conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

First half of an oral history with William Everich, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Second half of an oral history with William Everich, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Transcript of an oral history with David Fernandez, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Transcript of an oral history with Ray Mantilla, highly accomplished Latin and jazz percussionist, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Transcript of an oral history with Tony Martinez, Afro-Cuban educator and community worker, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino History Project.

Transcript of an oral history with Benjamin "Yellow Benjy" Melendez, musician, community activist, and president of the Ghetto Brothers, conducted originally through the Bronx African American History Project and dual-listed under the Bronx Latino…

Oral history with Carlos Padilla, a longtime Bronxite, Marine, business owner, and president of the South Bronx Clean Air Coalition, conducted through the Bronx Latino History Project.
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