The Boulder County Latino History Project is a community-based initiative to document and make known the previously invisible experiences of Latinos in Longmont, Lafayette, and Boulder over the past century. It is particularly concerned with getting material about local Latinos into PreK-12 classrooms in this region and elsewhere in Colorado. Understanding the past and preparing students to become good citizens in a multicultural society requires knowing about and honoring everyone who has been part of our history.
Between 2013 and 2016, the project’s 100 volunteers and interns worked to gather information about the contributions and struggles of people from Spanish-speaking backgrounds. They assembled 1,600 primary sources of many types: oral history interviews and other biographical materials, family photographs, information from old newspapers, school records, U.S. Censuses, and data about the occupations and employers of Latinos and where they lived over time. This rich collection of material is readily available on the project’s website: bocolatinohistory.colorado.edu. Members of the project have also given many presentations to local groups and produced an exhibit about Mexican American history in the Southwest, which has been displayed in libraries throughout the county. Prof. Emerita Marjorie McIntosh wrote a pair of books about what the project has learned: Latinos of Boulder County, Colorado, 1900-1980.
A continuing feature of the project is working with PreK-12 teachers to develop curricular materials that include information about local Latino history and culture. Since 2014, with generous support from many partners, the project has run summer workshops that introduce teachers to the content of Latino experiences, to the primary sources, and how to use them in their own classrooms. Staff members help the teachers write lesson plans suitable to the age of their students and subject matter that incorporate information about Latino topics; and the group talks about how to hold “Courageous Conversations” with students, parents, and other teachers around difficult issues of race, ethnicity, and privilege. All of the lesson plans produced by the teachers are now available on a special website, along with many other educational resources: teachbocolatinohistory.colorado.edu. The summer workshops focused initially on teachers from this region, but as of 2017 the project is reaching out to educators and library/museum people in other parts of Colorado as well, especially Alamosa and Trinidad, to partner with them in gathering information about their own people of color and getting that material into the schools.
This is a public program.
For more information, please visit the program website.