LatinaLista — Latinos have a 400-year history of living, working and contributing to the culture and history of North America — but too many people think Latinos have only just arrived.
[caption id="attachment_19009" align="alignleft" width="300"] Founded in 1886, Ybor City is significant in Spanish- and Cuban-American immigration history. The district is also of importance in American industrial history, for it contains the largest collection of buildings related to the cigar industry in America and probably the world.[/caption]
What's even sadder is that U.S.-born Latinos aren't even aware of all the contributions prior generations of Latinos have made to this country. A new initiative between the American Latino Heritage Fund (ALHF) and the National Park Foundation wants to change that.
National parks often contain historical sites that have been preserved to let visitors step back in time and experience life of another era. Among those sites, there exist some that are especially relevant to Latinos — yet, not many Latinos know about them because Latinos represent less than 13 percent of national park visitors. Not to mention, "only 3 percent of the 86,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places explicitly recognize and celebrate" the nation's diverse cultures.
With Latinos tracing such a long history in the nation, there are countless sites across the country important to accurately telling the role of Latinos in US history. To help "re-discover" these sites — and enlighten a whole new generation — the American Latino Heritage Road Trip launches tomorrow.
Partnering with Hispanicize and Being Latino, the ALHF and the National Park Foundation are dispatching five bloggers to historic sites and locations throughout the Northwest, West, Southwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and South that chronicle Latino contributions.
Everyone can hitch a ride by following the bloggers on social media and Twitter by following @American_Latino and/or using the hashtag #LatinoHeritage. To 'rev' up excitement for the road trip, an “American Latino Heritage” Roadtrip Twitter Party is being held on Wednesday, July 11. Manny Ruiz, founder of Hispanicize will moderate the party and participating bloggers will be on hand to share where they're going and what they will be seeing and reporting back to everyone.
"The mission of NPF's American Latino Heritage Fund is focused on telling a more inclusive story of the American experience," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "Only by reflecting the true diversity of American history will we succeed in fostering future generations' visitation to our country's natural, cultural and historic treasures."