Preserving Latinx History Through Vintage Photos

Historians in the News
tags: Latinx history, crowd sourced history, photos


A new wave of digital archivists is capturing the forgotten stories of Latinxs across the diaspora through vintage photos, newspaper clippings and other ephemera, including concert posters and magazines.

One of the earliest examples of these digital archives is Veteranas y Rucas, which was founded by Guadalupe Rosales in 2015 as a virtual museum of Chicana youth culture in 1980s and ’90s Los Angeles. Since then, several independent collectors have created their own accounts on Instagram, using the platform to recover local Latinx cultures and contextualize them as part of a broader United States historical narrative.

Djalí Brown-Cepeda founded Nuevayorkinos in February, after observing the rise in visual archives focused on West Coast Latinx experiences. “The existence of those stories and projects is radical,” she said, but “as an East Coast New York City Afro-Latina, I could only relate to so much.”

The first photo she posted was of her mother, the writer and filmmaker Raquel Cepeda, at 16, and then she began crowdsourcing submissions from her followers. Each post on the account, which now has more than 12,000 followers, includes a brief personal chronicle of the story behind the image. Brown-Cepeda has also started IRL components, such as interactive installations in spaces like El Museo del Barrio in Manhattan and a T-shirt line to raise money for families separated at the border. In the context of the current immigration crisis, Brown-Cepeda says this kind of storytelling has inarguable political utility.

“Nuevayorkinos takes a stand against widespread hate by storytelling — sharing the endless experiences and stories of New York City Latinxs from various countries in itself combats the stereotypes affecting Latinx and immigrant communities and destroys the one-note narrative,” she said.

Read entire article at NY Times

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