UIC helps launch Puerto Rican community archive

Puerto Rican Arts Alliance

The Division Street Urban Progress Center had a float in a State Street parade around 1970.

El Archivo,” a digital archive that will gather, preserve and exhibit photographs and oral histories documenting the Puerto Rican experience in the Midwest, has been launched through a partnership between the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library will oversee the archival processing of the materials under advisor Sonia Yaco, head of special collections and an expert in documenting the lives of underrepresented groups. UIC has hired a graduate assistant in museum and exhibition studies to process the archive.

“UIC’s role will be to share our expertise in creating a sustainable community archive,” Yaco said. “Preserving the rich history of our region takes partnerships – cultural groups like the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and UIC, which is particularly strong in collecting the social, cultural and political history of Chicago.”

Puerto Rican Arts Alliance

Pepe Quintana and His Trio in May 1958 (courtesy, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance).

The organizers hope to include materials dating from 1920 through 1990 that document:

  • the Puerto Rican migration experience
  • Puerto Rican home and family life
  • the Puerto Rican labor force, professional life and military service
  • Puerto Rican social and cultural life

The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance, at 3000 N. Elbridge Ave., plans to host a series of events and a public exhibition this year and next.

To donate materials or volunteer for the “El Archivo” project, contact the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance at info@praachicago.org or 773-342-8865, ext 104.


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