Founded in 2020 by Dr. Andrea-Teresa “Tess” Arenas , the Wisconsin Latinx History Collective (WLHC) began as a core group of faculty from the University of Wisconsin system and Marquette University, dedicated to highlighting the histories of Latinx communities in the state. The collective quickly grew to a network of faculty, staff, and students from six Wisconsin universities and two out-of-state institutions, along with numerous community members who have been trained by the core WLHC team.
Before the WLHC, Dr. Arenas worked with the Wisconsin Historical Society to create the Somos Latinas Oral History Collection, which documented stories of various Latina activists in Wisconsin. It was from this initial project that the vision for WLHC developed.
WLHC’s unprecedented network of researchers and organizational partners are dedicated to retro-fitting Latinxs into broader public understandings of Wisconsin’s history. Our goal is to center Latinx history and identity where it has often been minimized or erased, addressing historical silences created from patterns of racism and discrimination. The WLHC’s core organizational partners include University of Wisconsin- Madison’s Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program (CLS) and the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS).
2012-2016: Somos Latinas Oral History Project
2020: Voces del Campo Oral History Project
2020: Wisconsin Latinx History Collective is formed
2021-2024: Retrofitting Latinx History in WI, Baldwin-funded Oral History Project
2022-present: ¡Presente! DE Planning
Community-Engaged Research Process
One of the most powerful aspects of the WLHC is its community researchers who range from archivists to nonprofit employees, to academics to retired K12 teachers. Each of the WLHC community members are deeply embedded in their respective Latinx communities, have been trained by WLHC faculty in oral history methodology, interview skills, transcription writing and more. Furthermore, WLHC also has diverse Latinx community advisors who assist in ensuring we are inclusive of all Latinx communities in Wisconsin. Through these community researchers WLHC is able to identify potential interviewees andarchive and artifact collections to add to the WLHC repository.