The Great Hispanic American History Tour
There I was, on my Great Hispanic American History Tour, visiting yet one more gallery where our heritage is on display, and much to my surprise — through my camera lens — I made a discovery that almost knocked me down.
I was visiting Miami's Freedom Tower, the National Historic Landmark that served as the U.S. government's "Cuban Refugee Center" in the 1960s and early 1970s, and I was determined to write a very personal account of what that building means to me — how it received my own family when it served as "the Ellis Island of the South."
But nothing had prepared me for the shock I received last week when I entered the tower — now a museum — for the first time in more than 50 years. Read more . . .
On the broad streets of Washington, D.C., and within the majestic halls of the U.S. Capitol, our often-hidden Hispanic heritage had not been hard to find. My Great Hispanic American History Tour had discovered many remarkable monuments and works of art recognizing Hispanic patriots and heroes and their contributions to this great nation. I was truly impressed — until I got to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
Wow! After visiting so many Hispanic historical sites around the country, what a disappointment!
It was as if I had walked into an average American history book, with all its typical blatant omissions of the contributions of Hispanic Americans. Read more . . .
When we go to our nation's capital, mostly as tourists trying to make time to cover all the major attractions, we seldom find enough time to visit some smaller sites that would be monumental if they were elsewhere.
Washington has so many statues, sculptured buildings, busts, monuments and other outdoor attractions that it's easy to overlook many of them — even when some could have special significance to you.
This is especially true for U.S. Latinos . . .
Read more . . .
You see Hernando De Soto and his Spanish conquistadors as they discovered the Mississippi River. You view different artistic interpretations of the moment Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World. You see Hernando Cortes' meeting with Montezuma in Mexico and Francisco Pizarro on his way to Peru. You see tributes to Spanish monarchs and missionaries — and to U.S. Hispanic heroes and accomplishments. Read more --> (78)
WASHINGTON — It took Congress 231 years to keep this particular promise, perhaps setting a record, but it finally happened in December, when a portrait of Spanish Gen. Bernardo de Galvez finally was hung on a wall in the U.S. Capitol. Read more --> (77)
He was the star of the Founding Fathers, the intellectual architect of our system of government, the author of our Declaration of Independence, our first secretary of state and our third president. He was well-known for his attraction to France. But if you were to ask Thomas Jefferson, he would tell you how important it is for you to learn Spanish. Read more --> (76)
Somewhere beneath the Hilton Hotel and Ballpark Village — the fancy new complex built by the St. Louis Cardinals next to Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis — lie the remains of an old Spanish fort that played a key role in defeating the British during the American Revolution. In fact, had it not been for Fort San Carlos, hastily built by Spanish troops and French Creole settlers to protect the small village of St. Louis in 1780, some historians believe American independence from Great Britain would not have been achieved. Read more --> (75)
After Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado gave up on New Mexico because the fabled Seven Cities of Cibola turned out to be made of mud instead of gold — and before returning to present-day Mexico — he went all the way up to present-day Kansas. Marching with more than 1,000 people, with several thousand head of livestock, and often sending small groups of soldiers to explore in different directions, the 1540-42 Coronado expedition covered a huge territory — through today's Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Read more-> (74)
You are standing on a hilltop, next to a beautiful shrine. You see a valley of farmland embraced by mountain ranges. You are overlooking a quaint, historic community at the bottom of the hill — and all of it is named in Spanish. You are on "La Mesa de la Piedad y de la Misericordia," or the Hill of Piety and Mercy, standing next to "La Capilla de Todos Los Santos," or the Chapel of All Saints, overlooking the San Luis Valley, which is embraced by the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Mountains. You are in southern Colorado. But from the names of the landmarks here, you could just as well be in Spain. Read more --> (73)
Lehman Professor Miguel Perez Wins the Illustrious Award for Journalism from the Institute for Latino Studies
Hall of Fame!
Lehman Professor Miguel Perez Inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame
One of the fringe benefits of being a journalist
is that sometimes you rub shoulders with greatness!
To watch videos, click on these photos:
When I co-hosted "Tiempo" with Anna Carbonell on WABC-NYC in 1983, I had the privilege to interview:
• Cuban bandleader Machito, shortly after he won the Grammy for Latin Music at the age of 74.
• Pele, the greatest soccer player of all time.
• Tito Puente, the King of Latin Music.
• Miriam Colon, the Queen of the NY Hispanic Theatre.
• Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa.
• Salsa Superstar Ruben Blades.
This on-going series, now up to 81 parts, has become my greatest passion. Two years ago, I launched a new web site - HiddenHispanicHeritage.com (http://www.hiddenhispanicheritage.com/) – where I can put my passion on display.
You may have read some of these columns when they were distributed by the Creators Syndicate and published in web sites and newspapers, but you didn't see them as you will here, alongside the many photographs I've taken during my travels to many historic landmarks.
My pilgrimage in search for our hidden Hispanic heritage has turned into "a bucket list of places, ideas and historical evidence to help reconnect Americans with their Hispanic roots." I hope you enjoy it and send me some feedback in the site’s companion Facebook blog, at https://www.facebook.com/HiddenHispanicHeritage
But most importantly, PLEASE, help me disseminate this information by sharing this web site with your friends. I’m willing to share my passion!
Miguel Pérez - HiddenHispanicHeritage.com (http://www.hiddenhispanicheritage.com/)
My hope is that this page will become a public forum for all of us who believe the time has come to re-conquest American history, so that the contributions of our Hispanic ancestors are properly recognized. I hope you join my cause by "liking" this page, and then I hope you get your friends to like OUR cause. Mil gracias! -- Miguel Pérez