Do you ever wonder why we don’t learn about Latinos and our contributions to the United States military in schools? Well, before 1999 there were almost no documented stories of Latinos who served.
But thanks to Texas journalist Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, who focused on this gap in history, things changed.
While doing research for a story on Mexican Americans who fought in World War II, Maggie couldn’t even find a chapter in a book dedicated to the subject. When she became a professor at The University of Texas at Austin, she decided to address this lack of information by creating her own oral history project. She called it ‘Voces Oral History Project’, and this year the program turns 20.
‘Voces’ archives stories from Latinos who served from World War II to today. For the past two decades, Maggie and her students have collected over 1,200 stories and 10,000 photographs through interviews.
With such a large and growing collection of stories, our Latino military history will no longer be ignored. Projects like ‘Voces’ validate the multiple Latino contributions to U.S. history.