The History of Latina and Latino People in the US (Teacher Seminar Online)

The History of Latina and Latino People in the US

Lead Scholar: Geraldo L. Cadava, Northwestern University
Master Teacher: Ziara Smith
Partner Organization: UnidosUS
Live Session Dates: Week of June 24
Registration Deadline: Monday, June 17


Image Source: Photograph of Coretta Scott King and César Chávez during a religious service in 1972 (The Gilder Lehrman Institute, GLC09817)

Photograph of Coretta Scott King and Cesar Chavez holding heads during a religious service
  • 24 PD Credits

Seminar Description

The growth of the Latino population has transformed the United States, leading to heightened debates about political power, cultural influence, citizenship, civil rights, and ethnic and racial categorization. The increased attention may feel new, but Latino communities have played a pivotal role in US history for centuries. In this seminar, we will explore the 500-year history of Latinos in the United States—and across the Americas—from the sixteenth century through the early twenty-first century.

This seminar will offer a reinterpretation of United States history focusing on race, migration, labor, empire, and the history of community—or several communities. These include Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominican Americans, Central Americans, and Cuban Americans.

This seminar will also examine the movement of Latino peoples within and between the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Finally, it will cover these peoples’ long struggles for equality and belonging. Ultimately, participants will gain a deeper sense of the issues and histories that bring Latinas and Latinos together, and those that continue to divide them.

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Live Zoom Sessions

Monday, June 24: 11:00 am ET to 1:00 pm ET

  • Scholar Q&A
  • Pedagogy Session

Tuesday, June 25: 11:00 am ET to 1:00 pm ET

  • Scholar Q&A
  • UnidosUS Session

Wednesday, June 26: 11:00 am ET to 1:00 pm ET

  • Scholar Q&A
  • Pedagogy Session

Thursday, June 27: 11:00 am ET to 1:00 pm ET

  • UnidosUS Session
  • Final Open Discussion

Project Team


Geraldo L. Cadava, Lead Scholar

Professor Cadava is a professor of history and Wender-Lewis Teaching and Research Professor at Northwestern University. He is also the director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern. Cadava’s work focuses on Latinos in the United States and the US-Mexico borderlands. He is the author of two books: The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2020) and Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland (Harvard University Press, 2013).


Ziara Smith, Master Teacher

Ziara R. Smith is an experienced educator and curriculum consultant with a passion for justice-oriented education. Her educational pedagogy is rooted in the Ghanaian principle Sankofa, “go back and fetch” what has been lost or forgotten. Currently, Ziara is the adult education lead at Literacy MidSouth, in Memphis, Tennessee. She also serves as curriculum developer for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools summer literacy program. She has previously held positions at the University of Virginia’s Center for Race and Public Education in the South, at the Tennessee State Museum as a contributing curriculum developer, and as a middle school history teacher. 

Made possible with the support of our partner

Logo for UnidosUS


This seminar is held in partnership with UnidosUS. UnidosUS is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves as the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization. Since its founding in 1968, UnidosUS has contributed to a stronger America by creating opportunities for all Latinos through a unique combination of research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico.


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