Latinos in Utah
For twenty years, and in conjunction with our oral history project, we gathered an impressive number of pictures and documents of Latinos in the state of Utah. These pictures allowed us to recreate the history of Latinos since the time when the Aztecs and Utes inhabited Utah’s territory to our present days. Based on ethnic methodologies, I merged the history of the United States, the history of Utah, and the history of Mexican Americans in the Southwest.
Our main intention was to increase the level of awareness of the presence of Latinos in Utah, to promote tolerance and understanding in our communities, and to make this information accessible to people without formal education. For these purposes, we created a travel exhibit, with captions in English and Spanish, and with a feedback mechanism through which people provided further information. The exhibit was displayed throughout the state and about 120,000 people visited our photo-documentary.
This collection includes maps showing the territory of Utah when it was part of Mexico, the first community of Latinos in Monticello, the experience of the miners in Bingham and Price, the participation of Latinos in the construction of Utah’s railroad, the presence of Mexican migrant workers, the Latinos of Utah who enrolled in the U.S. wars abroad, the early religious organizations of Catholics and Latter Day Saints, the Chicano Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and Utah’s Latino leaders who have left a legacy for future generations.
Organizations such as the Utah State Historical Society, the Center of Documentary Art, the American West Center, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Special Collections at the University of Utah, Utah Humanities, Ethnic Studies, Centro Civico Mexicano, Weber State University, the Office of Hispanic Affairs, and multiple families contributed to this project. We are confident that our involvement will enhance the goals of making Utah’s history a more wholistic and inclusive endeavor.
Armando Solorzano. Ph.D.