A Collaboration Dedicated to Elevating Latino History in Oregon

On June 6, 2011, the Knight Library Reading Room filled to overflowing with an assemblage the likes of which the Library never had:  students, deans, administrators, faculty, Latino community leaders, farmworker families, and elected officials.  The gathering’s activities cemented an enduring bond between the University of Oregon and Oregon’s Latino community.

On June 6th, UO President Richard Lariviere and Ramón Ramírez, President of PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste) signed a deed of gift promising PCUN’s historical materials to the UO Knight Library Special Collection.  PCUN, Oregon’s farmworker union based in Woodburn, is Oregon’s largest Latino organization.  Its archives hold thousands of documents, letters, flyers, notes, media clippings, recordings, photos, and posters which narrate and illustrate over three decades of the farmworker and immigrants’ rights struggles in Oregon.

The June 6th event also featured students from UO’s “Latino Roots” class describing their productions documenting the lives of Latinos across generations and Oregon geography.  The students donated their productions to the Special Collections’ permanent archive.

Out of the “PCUN-UO Partnership” and the Latino Roots course (organized jointly by the School of Journalism and Communications and the Department of Anthropology and Ethnic Studies), has grown the Oregon Latino Heritage Collaborative (OLHC).  In November, 2011, the Collaborative’s co-founders declared its mission:  “Opening new avenues to preserve, share, research, study and narrate Latino communities’ history as Oregon and American history.” They also adopted a sweeping vision statement.

In 2012, the Collaborative is focused on promoting the PCUN archives transfer , encouraging Latinos in Oregon—and Latino-led organizations in particular—to document their history and building support in the UO community for housing this documentation at the university.

The Collaborative is overseen by a Steering Committee and administratively supported by the Knight Library and CLLAS, the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies.   For more information, contact Eli Meyer at CLLAS (emeyer@uoregon.edu).