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Friday, August 12, 2022


UH professor represented in national American Latino discussion

An American Latino organization held its first town hall meeting Tuesday evening at Rice University to discuss the preservation of the forgotten history and immense cultural diversity of American Latinos in the country.

Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino hoped to reach out and educate the community about the need for a Latino museum housed in D.C. The Smithsonian Latino Center shares the mission of telling a more complete story of the role of Latinos in American history.

UH World Cultures and Literature professor Marie-Theresa Hernandez has devoted her professional career to the study and documentation of untold and almost forgotten American Latino history.

“The more presence we have and the more political presence we have, in which the museum would help, some things would be more believable about the mainstream perception of American Latino history,” said Hernandez.

She has been named as one of the few American Latino ethnographers that has dedicated herself to the preservation of Crypto-Jewish history and the immense amount of American Latino history in the creation of the Republic of Texas, or “buried treasures.”

FRIENDS Director Estuardo Rodriguez introduced the group’s mission.

“I can host this in Miami. I can host this in New York City,” Rodriguez said. “And I can promise you our conversation about the vastly diverse Latin culture would be different.”

With a few colleagues from the public policy advocacy group, the Raben Group, Rodriguez has relied on supporters through social media and community outreach to develop this concept and to pass it through Congress since 2004.

Associate professor of Hispanic studies at Rice University José Aranda Jr., is a founding member of Chicano Leadership Rice that focuses on the development of Latino issues on campus and throughout the city.

“A lot of our history is gone. If it’s not told again, it will be forgotten,” Aranda said. “We are Americans too.”

FRIENDS estimated the cost for the museum to be $650 million and is pushing the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act through Congress that will designate the space for the prospective museum.

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