Latino Celebration 2017 at the Newark Public Library
The Newark Public Library‘s annual Latino Celebration will feature the exhibition Boricuas in the Garden: The Story of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey, on view from September 14 through December 31, 2017, and a series of related programs at the Main Library located at 5 Washington Street.
Boricua, pronounced BÔ-ree-kwa, another term for Puerto Rican, comes from Borikén – the name the Taínos, the island’s pre-Columbian inhabitants gave their homeland.
Puerto Ricans are the second-largest Latino group in the United States and the largest in New Jersey. The Garden State has been a good home: this community enjoys higher high school graduation rates, higher median household income, and higher per capita income than other stateside or island Puerto Ricans. The people of Puerto Rico are American citizens, and have been so since 1917, when the US Congress passed the Jones-Shaffroth Act. As a result, the people of Puerto Rico can move throughout the 50 states just as other Americans do.
However, when coming to the US, Puerto Ricans leave a homeland with its own distinct identity and culture, and the transition involves many of the same cultural conflicts and emotional adjustments that most immigrants face. Although early generations of migrants confronted great obstacles, their labors and activism created institutions that now benefit newer Latino immigrant groups: community based organizations, churches, civic and cultural centers, businesses, educational and political organizations.
The 2017 Latino Celebration explores the long history and dynamic presence of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey and illustrates how this vibrant community has become an integral part of the fabric of the Garden State, illustrated with archival materials, historic photographs, and other documents about individuals and the community organizations they established, many drawn from the Library’s holdings in the Puerto Rican Community Archives, part of the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center.
Image: Puerto Rican Day Parade on Broad Street in Newark, 1987. Photo courtesy of David Scull.
The exhibit also showcases a selection of graphic arts by distinguished Puerto Rican artists from the library’s Fine Prints Collection. The island was one of the most important countries in graphic arts in the mid-20th century, and the Newark Public Library has collected approximately 400 fine prints by artists including Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufiño, José Rosa, Roberto Moya, Antonio Martorell, Luis Cajiga, Myrna Báez, Nelson Sambolín, and others.
Image: José Rosa Castellanos. Centenario de la Abolición de la Esclavitud. Serigraph. 1973. Fine Print Collection, Special Collections, The Newark Public Library.
Image: Lorenzo Homar. El Maestro. Woodblock print. 1972. Fine Print Collection, Special Collections, The Newark Public Library.
This print features quotes from speeches given by Pedro Albizu Campos (b. 1891, d. 1965) in 1930.
Boricuas in the Garden was curated by Ingrid Betancourt, Chief Librarian for Special Collections; Yesenia López, Director, New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center at the Newark Public Library; and Kristyn Scorsone, Archival Assistant, NJHRIC.
On view from September 14 to December 31, 2017
2nd Floor Gallery, Main Library, 5 Washington Street, Newark
The exhibition will be open during regular Library hours, Monday through Saturday, with free admission. Group visits and more details are readily available by calling La Sala Hispanoamericana at the Library at 973-733-7772.
Latino Celebration 2017 will include the following public programs, all offered free of charge:
Opening Reception for Boricuas in the Garden: The Story of Puerto Ricans in New Jersey
Thursday, September 14
6:00 – 8:00 pm
The story of the Puerto Rican people is unique in the history of U.S. immigration. This vibrant community has a long history in New Jersey and has become an integral part of the fabric of the Garden State. Please join us for the kick-off event for the Newark Public Library’s 2017 Latino Celebration exhibit and program series.
Keynote Speaker, Samuel Delgado, Vice President for External Affairs for Verizon New Jersey. Other special guests include Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez, creator and writer of the new critically-acclaimed superhero and comic book series, La Borinqueña, and Nelson “Butchie” Nieves and the members of the Puerto Rican Day Parade 2017 Royal Court.
The evening’s festivities include a Salsa dance performance and lesson.
Saturday, September 30
2:00 – 3:30 pm
Spanish settlers who made their livelihood through the cultivation of small plantations in the highlands of Puerto Rico were known as “jíbaros” or country folk. Jíbaro music has its roots in the musical forms that came to the island from Spain during the time of colonization and settlement. In it you can hear the influence of eight centuries of Arab domination in Spain, as well as the legacy of the Taíno, the island’s native people. Rubén Figueroa and Conjunto Ritmo Tropical bring an “orquesta jíbara,” to the Library this fall. Bring your family, your maracas, güiros, and bongos, and enjoy a gran fiesta jíbara.
Saturday, October 14
2:00 – 3:30 pm
4th Floor Auditorium
Meet Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez, creator and writer of the new superhero La Borinqueña, for a talk about the making of his critically-acclaimed comic book series, followed by a comic book signing. Miranda-Rodríguez has been spotlighted by major media outlets from Telemundo to the New York Times for the creation of this Afro-boricua heroine whose mission is to help the Puerto Rican community unite and fight for social justice. This Nuyorican artist uses his comic to raise awareness about Puerto Rico’s human rights and economic issues. He is also a writer for Marvel Comics, and an independent publisher.
Saturday, October 28
2:00 – 4:30 pm
4th Floor Auditorium
The award-winning documentary The Borinqueneers chronicles the untold story of the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment, the only all Hispanic-unit in U.S. Army history. Rare archival materials and compelling interviews with veterans, commanding officers, and historians bring to life stories of courage, struggle, and triumph. Narrated by Hector Elizondo, The Boriqueneers reveals how soldiers of the 65th Infantry Regiment served with merit in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
Screening introduced by Noemí Figueroa Soulet, producer, director, and writer. Following the screening there will be remarks by local 65th Infantry Regiment veterans, and a Q and A session.
Saturday, November 4
2:00 – 4:00 pm
4th Floor Auditorium
Billions in debt, a staggering unemployment rate, and a declining population have dominated news coverage of Puerto Rico and caused many to question the island’s governance and stability. But few reports have bothered to examine the deep roots of the current crisis. How did we get here, and how can the Puerto Rican people deal with the country’s immediate problems and long-term economic challenges? Join the conversation at the Newark Public Library as we mark a century of American citizenship for Puerto Ricans.
This public forum will feature keynote speaker Juan Cartagena, president and general counsel of Latino Justice–Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF). Cartagena will be joined by Edwin Meléndez, Director, Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College CUNY [invited]; and other prominent Puerto Rican leaders and scholars. Jason Cortés, Associate Professor, Graduate Program in American Studies, Rutgers University-Newark, will serve as moderator. This forum is co-sponsored by the Friends of HRIC.
Saturday, November 18
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Puerto Rican gastronomy is a delicious and aromatic blend of Spanish, African and Caribbean spices and ingredients. Think mofongo, alcapurrias, arroz con gandules, pasteles, tembleque, mallorcas…. Don’t know what these are? Come to the Library and bring your curiosity and appetite.
Chef Kenny Candelaria, owner of the Puerto Rican restaurant Cocina Candela in Montclair, will be demonstrating his own style of “cocina criolla” featuring his signature trifongo and a few other essential Puerto Rican dishes. Candelaria has a passion for fusing traditional ingredients with contemporary cooking techniques to create a unique gastronomic statement (and a delicious meal).
This year’s Latino Celebration programs and exhibit are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and administered by the Essex Council Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs, support from Verizon / NJ Shares Communications Lifeline program, and by a grant from the Friends of the HRIC.
Also on view at the Library this fall will be the exhibition We Are Still Here: Taíno Survival and Identity, which celebrates the survival of the indigenous Taíno culture in the Caribbean and United States diaspora with a selection of Taíno-themed contemporary art. The exhibit is curated by Sonia Vera and Jaimí Kauríx Rodríguez, and presented in partnership with the Puerto Rican Day Parade of Newark.
Exhibition on view from September 10 to October 31, 2017
1st Floor Gallery, Main Library, 5 Washington Street, Newark