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Latinos in Richmond

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A series of events that examines the Latino experience in the City of Richmond

Latinos are the nation’s largest “minority” group (over 54 million), yet the most disenfranchised from American historical, cultural and educational representation. The programs and events supported by the Latinos in Richmond project is a multi-year attempt to account for the rich and varied presence of Latinos in Richmond and the state of Virginia. Latinos in Richmond is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880)
Thurs., Feb. 4
6:30 p.m.
Sacred Heart Center, 1400 Perry Street, Richmond, VA 23224

Hosted by University of Richmond professors Lázaro Lima, Patricia Herrera, and Laura Browder, this event will feature a screening of Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880), episode one of the NEH supported documentary film Latino Americans, followed by a discussion.

One hundred years after Columbus’ arrival in the Caribbean, Spanish conquistadors and priests push into North America in search of gold and to spread Catholicism. With the arrival of the British in North America, the two colonial systems produce contrasting societies that come in conflict as Manifest Destiny pushes the U.S into the Mexican territories of the Southwest.

The Peril and the Promise (1980-2000)
Thurs., Feb. 11
6:30 p.m.
Richmond Public Library–Broad Rock, 4820 Old Warwick Road, Richmond, VA 23224

Hosted by University of Richmond professors Lázaro Lima, Patricia Herrera, and Laura Browder, this event will feature a screening of Peril and Promise (1980–2000), episode six of the NEH-supported documentary film Latino Americans, followed by a discussion.

In the 1980s the nature of the Latino Diaspora changes again. From Cuba a second wave of refugees to United States – the Mariel exodus – floods Miami. The same decade sees the sudden arrival of hundreds of thousands of Central Americans (Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Nicaraguans) fleeing death squads and mass murders at home like activist, Carlos Vaquerano. By the early 1990s, a political debate over illegal immigration has begun. Globalization, empowered by NAFTA, means that as U.S. manufacturers move south, Mexican workers head north in record numbers. A backlash ensues: tightened borders, anti-bilingualism, state laws to declare all illegal immigrants felons. But a sea change is underway—the coalescence of a new phenomenon called Latino American culture—as Latinos spread geographically and make their mark in music, sports, politics, business, and education. 

Latino Lives, American Dream: Young Latino Fiction with author Meg Medina
Thurs., Feb. 18
6:30 p.m.
Richmond Public Library, 101 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219

This family-friendly event features renowned Richmond-based Latina author Meg Medina. She will read from her award-winning books Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass (2013), The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind (2012), and her forthcoming book Burn, Baby Burn. Medina’s touching novels take the perspective of young girls and examine how cultures intersect, highlighting what is unique in Latino culture and the qualities that are universal.

Latinos in Richmond: Breaking the Black and White Binary
Thurs., Feb. 25
6:30 p.m.
The Valentine Museum, 1015 Clay Street, Richmond, VA 23219

Facilitated by Mary Wickham, J.D., Executive Director


Dr. Debra Schleef, co-author of Latinos in Dixie: Class and Assimilation in Richmond (2009)
Rev. Sylvester "Tee" Turner, Director of Reconciliation Programs, Hope in the Cities
Tanya Gonzalez, Manager, Office of Multicultural Affairs,
Juan Santacoloma, Chesterfield County Multicultural Liaison

The panel will discuss the historical significance of Latinos to the City of Richmond, the State of Virginia, and the South. They will discuss the importance of education in altering both public perceptions about Latinos and how Latinos imagine themselves in relation to their communities. Panelists will focus on educational and cultural initiatives that would allow Virginia’s constituencies to understand how the forgotten history of Latinos requires memorialization and incorporation into the fiber of Virginia’s historical memory. A reception will follow the discussion. Please RSVP by February 23 to Kimberly O’Hare-Griffith,

These events were organized in partnership with the University of Richmond, Sacred Heart Center, Richmond Public Library, and The Valentine Museum.


Community Partners

For More Information

To learn more, contact:

Dr. Lázaro Lima, associate provost and professor of American Studies and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies, University of Richmond
Phone: (804) 484-1641

Dr. Laura Browder, professor of American Studies, University of Richmond

Dr. Patricia Herrera, associate professor of theatre, University of Richmond

Our Sponsors

Latinos in Richmond is sponsored by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association as part of their program Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History
Eliseo Medina, left and Dolores Huerta at a 1971 march in photo
Negative. Photograph of the Bracero Program by Leonard Nadel.  2004.0138.10.32.  Original filename: NAD-2004.0138.10.32.