Voces Oral History Center

Voces Oral History Center

Giving Voice to the Latino Experience

It has never been more important to document the Latino experience in the U.S. The interviews we record today are already being used in news stories and in research. With each passing day, the interviews increase in value.

From WWII veterans and civilians, to the men and women who molded the 1975 Voting Rights Act, to people who have lived through a pandemic, the Voces Oral History Center has recorded the experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Without the work of the Voces Oral History Center, the individual stories of most of the 1,300 men and women who have been interviewed would have gone unchronicled. And without these oral history interviews, the history of our country would be missing important elements.

The Voces Center has addressed a long-standing absence of Latinos/as in our country’s historical narrative. The beauty of oral history is that it creates primary source material from people who have lived the experience: fascinating because it tells the story of an individual experience. It is at once empowering to the people sharing their perspectives and helpful to researchers trying to gain a fuller understanding of various topics.

Voces' digital video and photographic archives have been used as source material by documentarians, journalists, and educators. And the Voces Center itself has created a greater awareness of the Latino/a experience by producing books, an annual journal, public programs, and ongoing interviews.

Begun in 1999 as the US Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project, Voces has a tradition of interviewing men and women in uniform, as well as civilians of war periods. The focus of the interviews has since expanded to the Korean and Vietnam War periods, and to political and civic engagement, focusing on the continuing fight for Latino civil rights. In 2020, the worldwide impact of COVID-19 drove home to Voces its role as a chronicler of the Latino/a experience. In response, Voces spearheaded Voces of a Pandemic, an ambitious multi-university research effort to document the impact of the virus on Latinos/as throughout the country. Voces of a Pandemic shares interviews on Voces’ YouTube channel and on its website. Interviewees include survivors of the virus, frontline health-care workers, essential workers, and people who have suffered economic hardship through job loss.

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