Researching Hispanic Culture

The University Libraries exhibit celebrates Hispanic culture during Hispanic Heritage Month.

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (September 19, 2013) — The glass exhibition case, at hip level as you enter the lobby of the Richter Library on the Coral Gables campus, beckons.

On display: popular graphic novels, a collection of books whose Hispanic authors write about their experiences in America, and a memoir by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who in February sat down with University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala at the BankUnited Center to discuss her life and her new book, My Beloved World.

More glass exhibition cases are on display on the first and second floor at Richter, showcasing an eclectic collection of art, music, movies and history dedicated to the influence Hispanics have had on American society and pop culture.

A celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15, the exhibit draws from collections throughout University Libraries, including albums and CDs from the Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library, Special Collections, University Archives, and the extensive Cuban Heritage Collection.

“We want students, faculty and the University community to be aware of the materials we have related to Hispanic heritage,” said Natalie Baur, the exhibition’s team leader and an archivist with the Cuban Heritage Collection. “We wanted to bring those materials out and let those materials be discovered.”

There are the papers from Lydia Cabrera, who explored the unique Afro-Cuban culture in Cuba, and books from Juan Ramon Jimenez, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956 and lectured at UM from 1940-42. There is a slave register from 1824 that recorded the fate of slaves passing through Trinidad & Tobago. Books by authors from Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are featured. Music albums from the “I Love Lucy” television show, featuring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, are prominently displayed.

Many of the works can be checked out of the library; some – the more rare and one-of-a-kind items – can only be viewed in the Libraries’ special collections.

Baur said a team of exhibit curators of faculty and staff collaborated on what items to include in the exhibition.

“With their diversity of perspectives, the exhibit curators brought together an exhibition that demonstrates how our Hispanic heritage has evolved into our American culture,” Baur said.

Below are some additional campus events linked to Hispanic Heritage Month:

Tuesday, Sept. 24 – Hispanic Heritage Month Opening Ceremonies
4 p.m. at the UC Patio
Sponsored by HHM Committee

Thursday, Sept. 26 – Student Success Series: Nothing Less than Academic Success
5 p.m. in the Mahoney Residential College Master’s Apartment
Sponsored by Multicultural Student Affairs

Friday, Sept. 27 – Noche Caliente: Salsa, Food & Fun
5 p.m. in the Pearson Residential College Master’s Apartment
RSVP: Pearson Residential College front desk
Sponsored by Pearson Residential College

Friday, Sept. 27 – Salsa Dance Night: Learn the Movement
7 p.m. in the UC Flamingo Ballroom
Sponsored by HHM Committee, Pearson Residential College, and Salsa Craze

Tuesday, Oct. 1 – Pedro Pan Exodus
6 p.m. in the Cuban Heritage Collection Reading Room
Sponsored by HHM Committee, Cuban Heritage Collection, and Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos

Wednesday, Oct. 2 – Latin Cuisine
5 p.m. in the Mahoney-Pearson Dining Hall
Sponsored by Chartwells

Monday, Oct. 7 – Pan’s Labyrinth
7 p.m. in the SAC Senate Chambers
Sponsored by HHM Committee, Alliance of Latin American Students, and Federación de Estudiantes Cubanos

Saturday, Oct. 12 – Gandhi Day of Service
9 a.m. Meet at the Student Activities Center
Sponsored by the William R. Butler Center for Volunteer Service and Leadership Development

Sunday, Oct. 13 – Parabola Optica: Thinking about Modernism and Photography in México
1 p.m. in Storer Auditorium
Sponsored by Lowe Art Museum and Department of Art & Art History


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Natalie Baur, the exhibition’s team leader and an archivist with the Cuban Heritage Collection.

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