The Latinx Historical Marker Project (LHMP) Steering Committee, members of the Latino Community Coalition, Dr. Nora Salas (Kutsche Office of Local History), and Dr. Delia Fernandez-Jones (Michigan State University), invite the community to help reclaim our history in Grand Rapids. By collaboratively applying for Historical Markers from the Michigan Historical Marker Program, we will commemorate historical places and events that helped shape Latinx Grand Rapids today.
According to the Michigan Historical Commission that oversees this program, “Each marker reflects an important story of a place, an event or a person. It powerfully shows the importance a community places on its heritage and serves as a signpost of historical significance. A marker dedication ceremony is an event of commemoration and even celebration that introduces a lasting resource for tourism, education and community heritage.” There are over 1,800 historical markers in the state of Michigan. Only two of them mention Latinos and none focus on Latino communities in the state. The Latinx community of Grand Rapids is more than a century old and two markers are not nearly enough to commemorate our shared past.
These markers will put the power of storytelling and history into the hands of our community. Putting more of these stories on historical markers will bring much deserved recognition to significant people and places in Michigan’s Latinx history. These new historical markers will serve as a permanent physical representation of how much our Latinx ancestors contributed to the place we now call home.