The High Point Museum is observing National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) with an exhibit and several programs. National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.
“Al Norte al Norte: Latino Life in North Carolina,” on loan from the North Carolina Museum of History features 51 compelling images by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, José Galvez. From business owners and farm laborers to grandparents and kindergarten graduates, the photographs capture the daily life of Latino North Carolinians.
The presence of a vibrant Latino community in North Carolina is fairly recent history. Seeking better futures for their families, many Latinos have made their homes here since the 1980s. Observing this trend, Galvez, an accomplished photojournalist who is himself Mexican-American, moved with his family from Arizona to North Carolina in 2004 to document this emerging population. The resulting images, taken over 10 years, reveal the diversity and strength of the state’s growing Latino community.
“We try to find ways to tell the stories of all our High Point citizens,” Edith Brady, Museum Director, said. “Hosting this exhibit gives us an opportunity to feature experiences shared by many Latinos in our own High Point community.”
The growth of the Latino community in North Carolina has been unprecedented. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 8.4 percent of the state’s population is Latino. Just 20 years earlier, this community made up only 1.2 percent of the state’s population. With English and Spanish descriptions, the photographs in “Al Norte al Norte” reflect the Latino community adapting to and shaping life across North Carolina. The Museum is presenting a variety of related programs and events. The exhibit, will be open until November 4, and all of the programs are free and open to the public.
“It’s a special treat to not only exhibit the work of a photographer of this caliber but also have him here to talk with people about his work,” Brady said.
The High Point Museum, a division of the High Point Public Library, is dedicated to sharing Greater High Point’s history, providing perspective for current issues, and strengthening the sense of community.
The City of High Point aims to serve as the catalyst for bringing together the community’s human, economic and civic resources for the purpose of creating the single most livable, safe and prosperous community in America. For more information on the City, visit www.highpointnc.gov