Press Release

Illinois Humanities Receives ‘Latino Americans: 500 Years of History’ Grant

Grant from the NEH and ALA Will Fund a Six-Part Statewide Series about the Past, Present, and Future of Latino Americans


Chicago – July 12, 2015 –Illinois Humanities has been selected to receive a competitive Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA).

As one of 203 grant recipients selected from across the country, Illinois Humanities will receive a cash grant of $10,000 to hold public programming — such as public film screenings, discussion groups, oral history initiatives, local history exhibitions, multimedia projects or performances — about Latino history and culture.

Illinois Humanities will also receive the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The award-winning series chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. (Learn more about the series at

Illinois Humanities will present six public program in Chicago and across the state. The first Chicago program will take place on Wednesday, August 19th at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen – a behind-the-scenes look at and conversation about the new exhibition, Deportable Aliens, with Mexican-born sculptor Rodrigo Lara, exhibition curator Dolores Mercado, and SAIC professor Daniel R. Quiles.

The first statewide program will take place on Tuesday, September 29th at the Spurlock Museum Auditorium in Urbana. This program will focus on the story of the Latino migration into Central Illinois and the transformation from seasonal workers in the fields and factories in Illinois to permanent members of the community with businesses and jobs –  and the resulting change in demographics and culture in both immigrant and non-immigrant community.

“Latino Americans are the country’s largest minority group, with more than 50 million people, and still many people are unaware of their rich and varied history and culture,” said Angel Ysaguirre, Illinois Humanities’ Executive Director. “I’m thrilled that we have this opportunity to explore this topic in our community.”

A full schedule of events will come soon. For more information, in the meantime, visit or contact Mark Hallett at (312) 374-1555 or

The Latino Americans: 500 Years of History grantees represent 42 states and the District of Columbia, and include 78 public libraries, 68 college/university libraries and organizations, 19 community college libraries, 10 state humanities councils, 12 museums and a range of other nonprofit organizations .View a full list of the recipients here. Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square.


About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at


About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.


About Illinois Humanities

Illinois Humanities is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with a mission to strengthen society by fueling inquiry and conversation about the ideas and works that shape our culture. Illinois Humanities engages communities across Illinois in conversation in a variety of humanities programs that focus on Public Policy, Media & Journalism, Business, and Art. Illinois Humanities lowers barriers to participation and offers access to programs, events, and grants to all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds. For more, visit