This Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) we are highlighting great work being done across the U.S. that is by Hispanics and/or focuses on Hispanics. Today we want to shine a light on the Latino History of RI. The website profiles Latinos in New England and their contributions.
Within the website you’ll find Nuestra Historias: The Blog of the Latino Oral History Project of Rhode Island. It is the brainchild of Marta V. Martínez, an independent oral historian. They are interviews with many of the Latinos who have built a life in Rhode Island.
The project was started in 1991 when Martinez met and recorded the life of Josefina Rosario who was the co-owner of Fefás Market. Rosario and her husband operated the first bodega in Rhode Island. She became known as “Doña Fefa”, the mother of the community.
Martinez would go on to record the audio history of many Latino pioneers: factory workers, community leaders, activists, artists, politicians educators and social service workers. She focused her work Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians and Guatemalans who reside in Rhode Island.
In 2016, a Latino Fotohistorias History Markers was set up in Providence, RI. It was the first to recognize the contributions of Latinos to the state’s history, near where Dona Fefa’s market once stood.
Congrats to Marta V/ Martínez for getting the Latinos stories out to the public and showing that many Latino men and women are making a difference.