A century of local Latino life is emerging into view.
Latinos and their contributions are almost invisible in standard histories of Boulder County and in the American history taught in local schools. Many families (whether deeply rooted in the community or more recent arrivals) have their own stories about the past, but these memories have rarely been recorded and are in danger of being lost.
Conventional written histories mention Latinos only in passing, to say that they came as coal miners or agricultural laborers. No acknowledgment is made that their work—and that of Latino shopkeepers, professional people, and others—has been essential to the economic development of the county.
Nor have historians written about the contributions of Latinos to its social, religious, and cultural life. This website, Teachers Project Website, and book set is helping to fill that gap, by documenting and preserving the past. It demonstrates that Latinos are indeed visible, in written records as well as in photographs and people’s own memories.
Community engagement methods were used to gather information for the website Resource Search section. Here is a summary of methods used:
- Prepared a multi-media history of the involvement of Latinos in Boulder County, in collaboration with Latino community groups, interested individuals, and local historical organizations.
- Engaged members of the county’s diverse Latino communities in documenting, presenting, and honoring their own and their forerunners’ contributions to Boulder County life over 100 years.
- Latino youth and young adult participants furthered their sense of cultural identity and learned how to document Latino history for future generations.
- Prepared a collaborative community history of such high quality that it can serve as a model for similar studies elsewhere.
Website Resource Timeline
Stage I (2013-2014) – Boulder County Latino History Project completes information gathering activities:
- Ten Latino summer Interns (high school and college students) plus 95 volunteers videotape 41Oral History interviews with a diverse array of local Latinos
- Assemble 66 interview and biographical accounts of individuals and families, covering the time period between 1975 and 2010
- Found and made digital scans of information about Latinos from old newspapers, school records, and other written sources
- Assembled, digitized, and wrote descriptions for nearly a thousand family photos
- Used U.S. Census records and City Directories to produce databases showing where Latinos resided in Longmont, Lafayette, and Boulder in each decade between 1904 and 1975
- Gathered information from those same sources about what kind of work Latinos did and where they were employed, by decade
- Went through the school Census records to get information by decade about (a) the education of Latino children, 1905-1964, and (b) birthplaces of children and their parents
- Made videos of places in three Boulder County towns that have been historically important to Latinos, narrated by long-term residents of those communities
Stage 2 (2014) – Catalogue material and develop website resources
- Analyzed the occupations, immigration patterns, and education of Latinos between 1900 and 1980
- Produced interactive computer-based maps that show where Latinos lived in Boulder, Lafayette and Longmont in each decade between 1900 and 1980
- Created project website and uploaded resource materials
- Shared Boulder County Latino stories with school and community groups
- Dr. McIntosh wrote books about the history of Latinos in Boulder County
- Initiated work with teachers in the two local school districts to introduce material about Latino history and culture into the curriculum at all levels, K-12