More than 200 grants nationwide announced for ‘Latino Americans: 500 Years of History’ program

For Immediate Release
Thu, 06/11/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


For inquiries or an interview with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), contact Theola DeBose, Director of Communications, at or 202-606-8255.

CHICAGO — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and American Library Association (ALA) have announced that 203 libraries, museums and other nonprofit organizations across the country are to receive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History programming grants.

The Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grantees represent 42 states and the District of Columbia, and comprise 78 public libraries, 68 college/university libraries and organizations, 19 community college libraries, 10 state humanities councils, 12 museums and a variety of other nonprofit organizations. Fifty-five organizations will receive $10,000 grants, and 148 will receive $3,000 grants, totaling more than $1 million. View a full list of the recipients.

The American Library Association has been granted these funds from NEH to support Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public exploration of the rich and varied experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group.  

The cornerstone of the project is the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film, “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The Peabody Award-winning series chronicles Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. (Learn more about the series here.)

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which is designed to demonstrate the critical role humanities scholarship can play in our public life.

“We are proud to have provided funding to support the creation of this film, and we are pleased that it will be seen by diverse audiences in communities around the country through these new grants,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams.

The following are examples of projects that will be supported by the Latino Americans: 500 Years of History initiative:

  • Durham County (N.C.) Library will host an exhibit about the contributions of Latino military servicemen and women since the Civil War.
  • Grand Performances, a presenter of free performing arts in southern California, will host screenings, discussions and recorded story circles on topics including Latina feminism, the importance of grassroots leadership and the value of arts and culture in emerging communities.
  • Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, Calif.) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Delano grape strike with a three-day symposium about the farm workers movement.
  • The Fort Worth (Texas) Human Relations Commission will collect stories and artifacts from Forth Worth’s Latino community, culminating in an open house displaying the collection.
  • The Pioneer Valley History Network, a consortium of historical societies, museums, libraries and sites in western Massachusetts, will create bilingual museum exhibits centered on current issues facing the area’s growing Latino community.

The grantees will receive:

  • A “Latino Americans” DVD set with rights to screen the film publicly
  • Cash grants of $3,000 to $10,000 to hold public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multi-media projects, performances and other programs about Latino history and culture
  • Access to additional programming and humanities resources developed by national project scholars, librarian advisors and outreach experts
  • Promotional materials to support local outreach

Attendees of the 2015 ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition may learn more about Latino Americans: 500 Years of History resources at two conference sessions on Sunday, June 28. Session 1 will cover the humanities themes within the “Latino Americans” documentary series and how all libraries and nonprofits can use the series to spark dialogue. Session 2 will offer guidance on forging local partnerships, conducting grassroots outreach and reaching diverse audiences through bilingual programming.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About ALA’s Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.