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New Roots/Nuevas Raíces Celebration!

We had a wonderful launch of “New Roots: Improving Global Access of Latino Oral Histories.” Attendees came from across UNC networks, including libraries, students, and ISA staff, to celebrate the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) award of $240,000 to the collaborative initiative of the Latino Migration Project, The Southern Oral History Program, and the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The NEH grant, which is awarded from the NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources division, will make the New Roots collection accessible to new regional, national and global public constituencies, particularly within Spanish-speaking Latino and Latin American communities. Activities will include the creation of a visually engaging bilingual website for public audiences and people who have contributed their stories; a digital catalogue and finding aids in English and Spanish; an interactive portal for teachers to share lesson plans; and a dissemination plan with Latino communities, K-16 educators, national and international oral history networks, and Mexican universities in the origin states of migrants living in North Carolina. The project will be based at UNC Chapel Hill and carried out over the course of three years.

“The growth of our Latino communities in the U.S. South is one of the most significant demographic changes in the recent history of the nation,” Dr. Gill said. “The New Roots Oral History Initiative was established in 2007 to document this important history from the perspectives of migrants themselves.”

Both Richard Szary, Director of the Wilson Library and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections, and Louis A. Pérez, Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas, emphasized the immense amount of time invested to make this project a reality.

“Years ago, we felt there was this huge blind spot: migration, people from Latin America coming into this state,” Pérez said. “Little by little, it’s been developing into a full scale program that belongs to what we see as a new paradigm for studying Latin American presence not only in Latin America, but the Latin American presence in the United States.”

New Roots was established in 2007 to document demographic transformations in the U.S. South with stories of migration, settlement and integration in North Carolina. Read more at

This growing collection of oral histories focuses on issues related to Latino migration to North Carolina and the formation of Latino communities.  Interviews are conducted by LMP staff, UNC faculty and trained students in courses relating to the topic, including APPLES Global Course Guanajuato, which began conducting interviews in 2007.  In-depth interviews in this collection are in Spanish or English and include immigrants, U.S.-born second generations, professionals who work with immigrants, policy-makers, religious leaders, educators, students, and local business owners. Our partners in the Southern Oral History Program and Wilson Library assist with digitization, catalogue, and preservation of audio recordings and transcripts.

Listen to the audio samples from the archive here.