In a tumultuous political landscape that can leave many people of color feeling uneasy or unsafe, one exhibit from the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative (LDHI) seeks to give a voice to the often-overlooked communities of Latinos in the Lowcountry.

Las Voces del Lowcountry, a new digital exhibit from Marina López and Kerry Taylor, documents the little-known history of Latinos in the Charleston area through oral interviews conducted between 2012 and 2014, photographs, historic documents, and artistic images. The exhibit grants viewers the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of local Latino issues.

LDHI is a digital public history project hosted by the Lowcountry Digital Library at the College of Charleston. LDHI projects are developed through a network of scholars, librarians, archivists, and students, with the goal of giving students the opportunity to work in the fields of digital humanities and public history.

In the recorded interviews in Las Voces, you can listen to the struggles of some immigrants and learn about the variety of reasons behind immigration to the United States, from the adverse effects of trade agreements like NAFTA to the political instability in some Middle and South American countries.

The exhibit also tackles tough contemporary issues, like the debate surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that protects young undocumented immigrants who entered the United States when they were children. With the uncertainty surrounding the DACA program’s renewal, approximately 6,400 of these “Dreamers” in South Carolina face a precarious future.
[content-1] Las Voces del Lowcountry also tells the stories of several Latino activists who have fought unjust and discriminatory policies over the last decade, namely the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act of 2008, which strengthened new employment verification standards for suspected illegal immigrants, and 2011’s SB 20, which requires police to check the legal status of people they lawfully stop and suspect are here illegally.

Finally, the exhibit offers a selection of interviews that explore the contributions that Latinos and Latinas have made to the culture of the Lowcountry, including music, art, and food.

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