SCF Libraries to Highlight Latino American History

(Bradenton, Fla., Sept. 4, 2015) – State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) Libraries will host two screenings of “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History,” at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 17 and 24, in the SCF Bradenton Library, 5840 26th St. W., Building 8. The films will be followed by discussion with Dr. Harry Coverston, professor of Humanities at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

SCF received a $3,000 competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) to fund public programming about Latino history and culture. This included the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013.

The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to the present, and includes interviews with entertainer Rita Moreno, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta, and author and commentator Linda Chávez.

“Latino Americans are the country’s largest minority group, with more than 50 million people, and still many people are unaware of their rich and varied history and culture,” said Dr. Tracy Elliott, SCF Libraries Director. “I’m thrilled that the SCF Libraries have this opportunity to explore this topic in our community.”

The Sept. 17 program will highlight episode No. 4 of the series, The New Latinos, which addresses the period after World War II when Latino immigration to the United States started diversifying. It explores the waves of Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican immigrants, which are some of the most prevalent Latinos in Florida.

Episode No. 6, Peril and Promise, which deals with the period from 1980 to 2000, will be shown Sept. 24. During this time span, Latinos came to represent a new majority minority in urban areas across the country. The key to their success, according to experts, was education.

Dr. Coverston will discuss key issues from the films, but also hopes to engage the audience in a dialogue about the characteristics of Florida's Latinos, and, specifically, the sectors of Latino immigrants prevalent in the Manatee and Sarasota areas.

Locally, according to the U.S. Census, slightly more than 15 percent of the Manatee County population is Hispanic or Latino, a percentage nearly mirrored by the student body at SCF.

The grant also provides support of an oral histories project that will commence early in 2016. The Library will invite families in Manatee and Sarasota counties who have an immigrant history to record their stories to share with their families and community. The sound recordings will be preserved in the SCF Libraries Digital Repository, which is open to the public.

“By providing the community with opportunities to share oral histories, by facilitating discussions and reflections on their history, and by sharing opportunities to learn from themselves and one another, community members attending these programs will be empowered to document, share and most importantly, celebrate their culture and history, as well as those of their neighbors,” wrote Alicia Long, SCF Library Specialist, in the winning grant application.

“The whole community will benefit from learning about the diverse residents in Manatee and Sarasota, while deepening their awareness of our shared cultural legacies."

The SCF Libraries have many Latino-focused resources, including Informe Académico, a database of Spanish language periodicals among other academic databases, as well as a collection of books and eBooks about Latino Americans and Latino issues. There also is a collection of books for children and teens that includes a wide selection of Latino authors and illustrators, such as the winners of the prestigious "Pura Belpré Medal.” Members of the community with a public library card are able to access the book collections.

For details and a schedule of events, visit or contact Alicia Long at 941-752-5404. Maps and directions are available at

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