01 Jul Lights, Camera… ACTION!
When I was asked my Sophomore year to look for a personal connection to World War II in my History II class I felt disconnected. I must confess that as I looked around and heard the stories of grandfathers and uncles the insignificance and incapability of being able to relate made me feel lesser than. On Tuesday I received an email from a Ranger who found information about a man named Fernando Quintero Ruiz who worked as a chef at the Sailor’s and Soldier’s Club in the Navy Yard. His wife Dorothy Burns who is from Irish decent also worked in the Navy Yard. He was born in Colombia, as was his father and his mother was born in England. I was ecstatic to hear this information! As I delve into my research of latinos working in shipyards and the maritime industry I further discover how essential we were to the making of this country. Many of our ancestors served in the military since the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. Whether as Spanish, Mexican, Tejanos, Puerto Ricans or Cubans our history is embedded in the imperialism and expansion of the U.S. Our lands and hard work were and remain the desires of U.S. expansion. What is even more amazing is to learn about the Central and South Americans that also contributed although often hidden in census records as Fernando was. I am eager to continue learning about Latinos in the U.S. Luckily, I have been able to connect with other Interns and historical societies that are also willing and dedicated to help me in this endeavor. As a formulate my outline I hope that the students who participate in the Navy Yard tour next month are as eager as I am to learn more about themselves. More importantly, I hope that they never feel insignificant because their ancestors also matter. During the past few weeks at Boston National Historic Site I have learned that sometimes you have to take action within yourself and others will follow suit. As I focus on the significance of Latinos both interpretively and physically a platform for conversations and research is created. Jocelyn Gould, heard that I was interested in learning more about Latinos who worked in the Navy Yard so she did not hesitate to keep that in mind during her research. I confess that I am beginning to to find a home within NPS, a home in Boston that is in need of some new additions, but a home worth working on.