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Neighborhood Voices from Southern Oral History Program

North Carolina has the eighth-largest immigrant population in the United States, and immigration has made it among the fastest growing states in the nation. The Southern Oral History Program wanted to use oral history to explore how new immigrants in one community were adjusting to the transition, and how longtime residents were reacting to their new neighbors. This short documentary chronicles life in Northeast Central Durham before the arrival of Latino immigrants, the experiences of those immigrants, and the challenges the Latino, black, and white communities have faced in trying to find shared space.

Civil & Human Rights Activism in Durham

View a map of sites representing civil & human rights activism sites in Durham. Click on a site for photos, descriptions, and audio content.

The People of Powe: Bienvenidos a E.K. Powe

“The Ortiz family were fantastic subjects to document. They are a loving family, and the three children are enthusiastic and very friendly. I was interested in working on a project related to the unique issues confronted by Latinos and native Spanish-speakers in Durham Public Schools. The challenges faced by these communities are often misunderstood and under-appreciated. While it took time for a level of trust to develop between me and the family, as well as the other Enlaces Program members, I believe the results were extremely fruitful.”

See the full story at The People of Powe.

Latino Credit Union Chronicles

The Virgin Appears in La Maldita Vecindad

A documentary about the Virgen of Guadalupe and the celebrations that occur on December 11th and 12th in her honor. These celebrations occur outside an apartment complex known as “la Maldita Vecindad” in Durham, North Carolina which is composed of immigrants mainly from Mexico and Central America. This documentary also explores Latin American immigrants in the United States.

See the full listing in the UNC-Duke Latin American Film Library.

Seed Spirits: The Otomi of Carolina del Norte

The documentary explores the translocal lives of an indigenous group from San Pablito, a village in highland Puebla, Mexico.  The main source of livelihood in the town is artisanal papermaking. Papel amate was used for creating the ancient Mexican codices. In the last generation, Otomi (who call themselves Hyuhnu) have relocated to Durham, NC and are sending remittances back to supplement earnings from papermaking. We focus on indigenous traditions that mark the cycle of life and the passing of the seasons: Carnaval, la Quinciañera, and Day of the Dead. In addition, Don Alfonso Garcia, a leading curandero of San Pablito, speaks about the role of the seed spirits in his healing work.

Find more information about Seed Spirits online.

FARE Project Food Truck & Documentary

This film is an intimate look into the life of Nora Mendez, an immigrant kitchen worker and mother of three living in Durham, North Carolina.

Visit the project website for more details.

From Tobacco to Tortillas: Latinos Remake Durham, NC

“The rapid Latino population growth jolted Durham economically and socially. The city, once a railway stop and tobacco and textile town, is now an international leader in research, healthcare and higher education.”

See the featured article in NBC News Hispanic Heritage Month stories.

The Housecleaner Project

The Housecleaner Project brings together Durham housecleaners with Duke faculty and students in order to document the lives of these women and their contribution to our community. It seeks to promote greater recognition of the work and rights of Durham housecleaners.

Hispanics in N.C.: Big Numbers in Small Towns

“In 2000, Hispanic/Latinos accounted for only 4.71 percent of the N.C. population. By 2010 the percentage was 8.39, making the state’s rate of Hispanic growth sixth-fastest in the nation. The latest data show that trend is continuing, with the Hispanic population growing from 8.39 to 8.6 percent from 2010 to 2011.* This continuing increase in Hispanic population has been an important part of growth in urban areas in the state – but Hispanics aren’t the only group contributing to the increase in those cities’ population. For a number of smaller towns, however, the recent growth of Hispanic population has made the difference between growth and decline.”

See the full story at UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

Durham’s Immigrant Communities: Looking to the Future

“Durham and its downtown first grew as a thriving commercial center fueled by the tobacco trade. The eventual decline of agriculture and manufacturing brought about a new era for the region.Starting in the 1950s, Durham fell into a period of decline crippled by the loss of population, jobs and investment. The residents who stayed weathered stagnating property values, increasing unemployment, and crumbling infrastructure.”

See this full report from the Latino Migration Project.

The Latino Migration Project

The Latino Migration Project provides research and educational expertise on Latin American immigration and integration issues in North Carolina.

Acción Emprendedora USA

Acción Emprendedora USA (AE USA) has helped small businesses through a process of training, technical assistance, and support services by developing programs that provide them with the necessary business skills to improve their businesses. Learn about these and other Hispanic micro entrepreneurs.

Voices from the Latino Community in North Carolina

The Voices Project is designed to provide a digital oral history archive that documents the Spanish-speaking immigrant experience in North Carolina in 2004-2005. The authentic oral histories are beneficial sources of information on cultural and historical perspectives and for the study of linguistic functions. The candidates were selected to show a diverse range of ages, native countries, professions, and social class.

Hispanic Migration in Durham, N.C.

This Penn Current article from the University of Pennsylvania examines Hispanic migration to “new cities” such as Durham beginning in 1990, up to the current day.

Durham Neighborhood Group Gets to Know Hispanic Neighbors Better

News & Observer article from May 2015.

The Languages and Life Project

The Language and Life Project focuses on research, graduate and undergraduate education, and outreach programs related to language in the American South. The project has grown to include the development of many educational and cultural resources, as well as a host of media from DVDs to podcasts to museum exhibits.

Latino Photography – Engaging the Latino Community through Photography

This digital archive  displays the photographic work of students of a Spanish language and civic engagement course at Duke University, Durham, NC. For this course, students conduct a series of interviews and photograph their interviewees with the intention of coming to a better understanding of the local Latino community.