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Latino-American & Hispanic Heritage

Celebrations of Hispanic Heritage and Latino Heritage at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota

2018 Hispanic Heritage Month Oral Histories

"Our Hispanic Heritage"

Participate in the SCF Library's "Our Hispanic Heritage" Oral Histories Project


Oral Histories Q&A:

What is "Our Hispanic Heritage" Oral Histories?

The SCF Library's Oral Histories project began as part of our "Latino Americans: 500 Years of History" program at the SCF Libraries in 2015. After we concluded that program, we decided to keep Oral Histories in our Digital Repository. 

In 2018, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, we re-opened the recordings for our students & staff to share their stories of their Hispanic origin or connection. 

Who can participate?

SCF Students, faculty, or staff who have any type of connection to Hispanic cultures.

For example:

  • If your parents, grandparents, or other ancestors were from Spain or any other Spanish-speaking Latin-American country (South, Central, or North America.)
  • If you came from a Latin-American country or Spain.
  • If your significant others are from a Hispanic culture and they got you into it by association!
  • If you are a "Hispanophile" (go search the dictionary!)


What is an "oral history"?

It consists of recording audio interviews or conversations (no video, only sound.)

How can we participate?

1) Sign up at the SCF Library registration link.

2) Bring a member of your family or a friend to whom you will tell the story. We'll set up a space for you to have a conversation about your family history, places you lived, or any immigrant experiences, if you have them.

3) We'll facilitate the conversation with you and members of your family or friends, and record it (audio recording only.)  Afterwards, we'll ask that you allow us to preserve the recording in the State College of Florida digital repository, so that it becomes part of our community's cultural patrimony.

Why do we need to record our conversation?

Our local history is made by people like you, and we want to document your story for others to learn more. If you agree, you will have to sign a consent to have your recording shared. You will have the choice to disclose your names and have a picture taken or not.

What it's in it for me?

Families and individuals who participate will benefit from the experience of telling (or retelling) their stories and will get a tangible document to take home (each family will receive a copy of the recording) plus the added value of leaving a legacy to benefit our local communities and beyond.

What do we need to talk about?

Some questions will be provided as guidelines, but as participants you might come prepared with your own. It's a conversation, not an interview! We will provide ideas and suggestions to get you started.  For example, if a family has an immigrant history, children can ask their parents: "How did you decide to leave your country"; "What did your parents/friends say when you told them?"; "What are some things that you miss from your former country?", etc.  Parents can ask their children: "Is there something that you would like to know and I never told you?"  "How do you feel about having a family who speaks another language?". You can ask a friend: "What was the hardest thing to leave behind?", etc.

What do I need to bring?

Just the people! We will provide the adults a Release Statement to sign, giving the SCF Libraries permission to record the conversation, and to share it with the public.  You and your family can come prepared with their own questions, or you can also use our list of suggested questions.

Some of our past participants

Pablo, Jorge, Susana, Lucia, Alex, Wentao, Juan, Olayemi, Vasyl, and Heidi... already shared their stories

What are you waiting? Sign up to record your story!

Their stories were recorded as part of the "Latino Americans: 500 Years of History" program, funded by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 2015.


Sample Questions to Start Thinking...

Ask your family member or friend:

* When did you come to this country and how old were you?

* At home, who did you tell first that you were leaving? What happened when you told your family (or your close friends)?

* What were the hardest things to leave behind and why?

* What were the easiest things to leave behind and why?

* Who came with you on the trip here? Did someone met you when you arrived? Who?

* Where was home when you left (town, city, country)? Was it a choice to leave? Why did you have to leave or why did you choose to leave?

* What are some of the fondest memories of your old home?

* What did you think when you first got here? How were the first days or weeks?

* What things were hard for you here and why?

* Who were most helpful to you when you were new to this country? How did you meet?

* Was there something that you really loved as soon as you got here? What and why?

* Where did you live first when you arrived, and how did you end up there? How was it?

* What was learning a new language like? How did you learn? What or who helped you?

* When do you speak your first language now? What do you prefer and why?

* Which holidays from your old country did you continue to celebrate? Why?

* Did you stay in touch with the people you left in your old country? How? Why or why not?

* What do you feel we (your children/grandchildren/nephew-niece, etc.) have missed by growing up here? And what have we gained (if anything)?

* Do you want us to stay connected to your former language, traditions, culture? How? What things? Why or why not?

* How do you feel coming here changed you?

* If you had to tell your descendants in one sentence what you went through in order to come here, what would you say?

* Do you feel different/unique/special for having a family from _______ ? How?

* What embarrasses you the most or what do you wish you didn’t have to explain to people?

* What are you most proud of about our culture and why?

* What do you think we should have done differently when raising you in this country? What do you think we did right?

* How do you feel when we speak _______? In public? At home?

* What do you think of people from our country/culture?

* If you had to tell your (parents/grandparents/etc.) in one sentence what you think about their migration story, what would you say?