Historians of Latino Americans (HOLA) – Tarrant County

by Peter Martínez

From left to right: William Girón, Cecilia Sánchez-Hill, Richard Gonzales, Peter Martínez, Rosalinda Martínez, Rita Rodríguez-Utt, Arturo Martínez, Paul Quiñones. With the exception of Paul Quiñones, everyone in the picture is an HOLA Tarrant County board member.

In August of 2019, a small group of individuals created what we originally (and unofficially) called the Latino History Group of Fort Worth, with the goal of collecting, preserving, creating, and publishing Latinx history in Fort Worth, Texas. Our young group includes historians, educators, writers, community activists, and civic leaders. Several of us – including Max Krochmal, Cecilia Sánchez Hill, Richard Gonzales, and Peter Martínez – are also actively involved in the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies as members and conference participants. This past January, our organization presented an exhibit entitled “Historya/Trails of the Mexican-American Experience in Fort Worth.” The exhibit visually depicts significant issues that contributed to the migration of Mexican populations to Fort Worth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Additionally, using old photographs, the exhibit provides an overview of how Mexicanos adapted to their new environment as well as how they were received by the Anglo-majority population. We plan on moving the exhibit to a variety of venues going forward as we promote Latinx history in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Additionally, the exhibit portrays early communities, accounting for some of the struggles that these communities overcame during the early 20th century.

In addition to the exhibit, key members of our group have also interviewed older Fort Worth women who have shared their thoughts and experiences as long-time Fort Worth Chicana residents. By giving these women a voice, we are empowering our community and contributing to our history. The current pandemic halted interviews, but we plan on expanding on this endeavor once we are able to safely resume this valuable work.

In May of 2020, we voted to change our group’s name to Historians of Latino Americans – Tarrant County (HOLA Tarrant County) as we continue our efforts going forward. We also recently built a website (https://holatarrantcounty.org) where we will store information pertaining to our organization as well as share research, interviews, and events among other pertinent material. The website is a work in progress, but it will serve as an instrumental tool for our history going forward.

Included with this article are two images. One is an exterior photograph of the historic Rose Marine Theater in Fort Worth, which is part of the Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center where our January event was held. The second image shows most of our board members with the exhibition in the background. A few board members were unable to attend the event.

Fall 2020, No. 46 No. 1

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