Welcome to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Latinx collection online.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture presents American history through an African American lens. Latinx history is American history and the NMAAHC is committed to collecting, documenting, interpreting, and preserving Latinx history and culture as an integral part of that American story. Black history is globally created and globally impactful. A shared legacy of the transatlantic slave trade connects the histories and cultures of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Further, Latinxs and Latin Americans—black and non-black—have historically contributed to and have been shaped by African American culture, including performing arts, music, literature, sports, and political movements. Conversely, African Americans have influenced Latinx and Latin American art, history, and culture as well. Articulating these connections across the African Diaspora affirms black American history as multicultural and inclusive of Latinx experiences.

The Latinx-related objects and archival collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture traverse racial identifications and national boundaries. This online portal is a guide to exploring the diversity of our Latinx-related holdings.

Note: To be as inclusive in language as we are in our collecting, we use the gender-neutral term Latinx, as an alternative to Latino or Latina, to describe people and cultures of Latin American heritage in the United States.

Juana Valdes (b. 1963)
Redbone - Colored China Rags, June 2017
slip glaze and pigment on bone china
H x W x D (each, approx.): 12 × 3 × 4 in. (30.5 × 7.6 × 10.2 cm)

Purchased through the American Women's History Initiative Acquisitions Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative; in memory of Catrina Hill, © Juana Valdes, image courtesy of Spinello Projects, photograph by Diana Larrea

SEARCHING ONLINE RECORDS

Use this guide to search the NMAAHC collection for Latinx-related objects:

Social Justice and Community Activism

Explore how Latinx communities have asserted their identities and supported one another through celebration and activism. Our collections include specific movements like The Young Lords Movement and The Chicano Movement, as well as broader social justice and political movements built on African American and Latinx Solidarity.

Arts, Music, and Culture

Search objects related to the Nuyorican Movement, a political, cultural, and intellectual movement of poets, writers, musicians, and artists who are Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent in New York City. You can also explore objects related to genres of Latin music such as calypso, salsa, Latin jazz, and hip-hop or survey elements of art and design in the NMAAHC collection related to the history and cultural experiences of Latinx identities and communities. 

The History of Latin America

Find objects related to Slavery and Colonialism in Latin America, the history of U.S. and Latin American relations, and the African Diaspora in Latin America. You can also see objects related to the process and idea of Decolonization as related to Latin America and globally or enjoy photographs from around Latin America and Latinx communities in the United States.

New Collection Highlights

These three New York-based photographers have captured the everyday lives, tribulations, and joys, of Latinx communities in New York City and around the United States.

Frank Espada

Frank Espada (1930–2014) was a Nuyorican documentary photographer and community organizer most known for his Puerto Rican Diaspora Documentary Project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. From New York to Hawaii and Puerto Rico to Chicago, Espada captured the livelihood of 34 Puerto Rican communities through photographs and oral history recordings.
View collection about Frank Espada

Jamel Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz (b. 1960) is an American street photographer in New York City who documented the culture and everyday life of African American, Latinx, and Caribbean youth during the emergence of hip-hop in the 1980’s and 1990’s and into the 2010s. Shabazz’s approach to photography is rooted in developing a relationship between him and his subject(s) to ensure he captures people in the way they want to present themselves.
View collection about Jamel Shabazz

Hiram Maristany

Hiram Maristany (1945–2022) was a Nuyorican photographer and activist revered as the photographer of “Puerto Rican life in East Harlem.” Known as the official photographer for the Young Lords Party in New York, he later served as the acting director of El Museum del Barrio and remained involved in the Puerto Rican and larger Latinx arts movements as a mentor to artists, including Miguel Luciano.
View collection about Hiram Maristany

ver el video en español

This project received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Collection Stories

Read in English / Leer en español

Harmonious Mixes

Latin jazz was born of the communal harmonies between African Americans, Latin Americans, and Caribbean musicians. Its particular mix of rhythms continued growing and developing in the late 20th century and into the 21st. Veterans and new musician’s experimentation and integration of musical styles such as Brazilian bossa nova among other Latin American and Caribbean sounds, have continued to help the genre obtain immortality in the global musical universe.
Read More about Harmonious Mixes
A group of musicians.

Mezclas armoniosas

El jazz latino nació de las armonías comunes entre músicos afroamericanos, latinoamericanos y caribeños. Su particular mezcla de ritmos continuó su crecimiento y desarrollo a finales del siglo XX y hasta el siglo XXI. La experimentación de músicos veteranos y nuevos y la integración de estilos musicales como la bossa nova brasileña, entre otros sonidos latinoamericanos y caribeños, han seguido ayudando al género a obtener la inmortalidad en el universo musical mundial.
Read More about Mezclas armoniosas
Detail of a lithographic print juxtaposing two black faces stylized as African masks framed by yellow circular emblems with a black panther in the center

From Here and From There: Exploring Elizabeth Catlett’s African American and Mexican Duality

Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012) was exiled from the United States due to the political themes she explored in her art. Her legacy is one of cultural belonging and activism that provokes conversations about the role of art among continental American neighbors: the U.S. and Mexico.
Read More about From Here and From There: Exploring Elizabeth Catlett’s African American and Mexican Duality
Detail of a lithographic print juxtaposing two black faces stylized as African masks framed by yellow circular emblems with a black panther in the center

De Aquí y de Allá: Explorando La Dualidad Afroamericana y Mexicana de Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett fue exiliada de Los Estados Unidos por los temas políticos que exploró en su arte. Su legado es un de activismo que provoca conversaciones sobre el papel del arte entre los vecinos continentales de América: Los Estados Unidos y México.
Read More about De Aquí y de Allá: Explorando La Dualidad Afroamericana y Mexicana de Elizabeth Catlett

INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS FROM LATINX-RELATED COMMUNITIES

The NMAAHC collection holds objects relating to individuals and organizations representing diverse Latinx-related identities and communities. The list below contains a selection of such individuals from within our online collection. This list will continue to expand as we add more materials online. Click on a name to learn more about the person and explore related objects.

CATALOGING NOTES

The collecting, processing, and cataloging of Latinx objects is an ongoing process. This page will be updated as more objects are added to the online collection. Please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu with any corrections, additional information, or feedback.

Top image: A Young Lords Party Rally at Queens County Jail, 1969. Photograph by Hiram Maristany. © Hiram Maristany. 2014.220.1

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