In White House forum, faculty member explores Latinos’ contributions to America’s heritage

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Stephen Pitti

Stephen J. Pitti, professor of history and American studies, is among a group of scholars who has been invited by the White House to take part in a forum exploring American Latino heritage.

The White House Forum on American Latino Heritage, hosted by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Oct. 12 and attended by 600 guests, is focused on honoring, recognizing and identifying the contributions of American Latinos in the fabric of America. Participating scholars have committed to serve on the American Latino Heritage Scholars Panel, which advises the National Park System advisory board on matters related to the development of the American Latino Theme Study, including areas of American Latino history that are underrepresented in the current roster of national parks, national historic landmarks, national historic trails, national heritage areas, and other historical places that fall within the scope of National Park Service responsibilities.

The panel will make recommendations on locations where this history can be found, including buildings, structures, sites, districts communities, other places that may be candidates for official recognition, designation protection, and interpretation.

The scholars will glean information from audience members by asking such questions as: How can the National Park Service do a better job of telling the story of American Latinos in its national parks and historic preservation programs? And, how well is American Latino history taught in schools — elementary, secondary, college, university, post-graduate, and continuing education?

Pitti, who will serve as the historian for one of the breakout sessions, teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Latino studies, ethnic studies, Western history, 20th-century immigration, civil rights, and related subjects. He is the director of the Program in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, and master of Ezra Stiles College. Pitti also directs the Latina/o History Project, which explores ethnic Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban and other Latino histories in the United States.   

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