A new book set chronicles the lives and contributions of Latinos in Boulder County. It also explores darker chapters in the county’s past, including the presence of the Ku Klux Klan and businesses posting “White Trade Only” signs that were ripped down by veterans returning from World War II and the Korean War.
The Boulder County Latino History Project and a University of Colorado Boulder professor teamed up to publish the two volume set, Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900-1980, Volume I: History and Contributions and Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900-1980, Volume II: Lives and Legacies.
The community is invited to the book launch at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, at the Longmont Museum, 400 Quail Road.
Marjorie McIntosh, CU-Boulder professor emerita of history, authored the books, both of which will be available for sale in paperback and hardback. McIntosh will be available for signing.
The project relied upon multiple interviews with area Latinos, some from the 1970s and many more from 2013. There is an interview with two of the American-born Latino interns who worked on the project as they described watching their fathers be arrested by ICE agents, jailed and eventually deported.
Also featured are: the director of the OUR Center for homeless people in Longmont; a doctor who directs a family health clinic in Longmont; a lawyer and city planner in Boulder who has been heavily involved in recovery work after the Four Mile Fire and last fall’s floods; a long-time activist in Lafayette whose mother founded the Clinica Campesina and in whose honor a local school is named; and a CU-Boulder counselor who was one of the first group of students to come to the university under the Migrant Action Program in the late 1960s and was active in UMAS (United Mexican American Students) at the time of the “Los Seis” bombings.
Authors noted that these stories may be new to many newcomers to Boulder County and perhaps even people who have lived here a long time.
“With a few small exceptions, Latinos are virtually invisible in the standard histories of Boulder County,” McIntosh said. “For me, it’s a moral issue. What we know about the past should be about everybody.”
Launched in 2013, the Boulder County History Project is a grassroots effort to record the contributions, struggles and progress of Latinos in Boulder County.
The books describe the lives and contributions of local Latinos, shedding light on people who are missing in local history books and school curricula. Starting with the arrival of Hispanics from Mexico, New Mexico and southern Colorado between 1900 and 1940, the study traces the experiences of Latinos over the course of four generations.
It draws upon an exceptional collection of 1,600 primary sources gathered by 10 student interns and 80 community volunteers for the Boulder County Latino History Project. Those sources include oral history interviews, family biographies and photos, films, newspaper material, and quantitative information about school children, immigration and employment.
Arturo Aldama, CU-Boulder professor of ethnic studies, provided the books’ foreword.
“This set presents stories of struggle and the implacable force of dignity in the Chicana and Chicano community in Boulder County,” Aldama said. “The singular and collective power of the voices of individuals and families heard in these volumes is profound, complex and long lasting. You will be bowled over by the eloquence, truth and enduring power of dignidad (dignity) of the voices in this study.”
Kent Willmann, CU-Boulder School of Education instructor, and Flora Sanchez of the Boulder Valley School District are co-directors of the project’s K-12 efforts. They have been working with teachers in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts to help educators explore the project’s collection and incorporate local history into their curriculum. CU-Boulder’s Office for Outreach and Engagement has agreed to supply each school library in the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts with a set of the new books.
To learn more, visit the Boulder County Latino History Project website.
This article was originally released by the CU Office of News Services.