Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2013) – As we celebrate Women’s History Month, the American Latino Heritage Fund (ALHF) of the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, is pleased to announce its role in helping to establish the Casa Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez as a National Historic Landmark.
Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez (1895-1983) was a renowned writer and literary critic of Hispanic literature. She became one of the first university professors for the newly established Hispanic Studies Department at the University of Puerto Rico in 1927. There she spearheaded the movement to retain the Spanish language throughout the island’s education system and as part of its cultural heritage. Internationally, Dra. Meléndez Ramírez was best known for her deft literary criticisms of the leading Hispanic authors of the day, among them Pablo Neruda, Rubén Dario, and José Martí.
“Supporting nominations like the Casa Dra. Concha Meléndez Ramírez as a National Historic Landmark is a critical component in meeting our mission to celebrate the contributions of Latinos to the American experience,” says Midy Aponte, executive director of the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation. “It is critical for the Latino community – and the general public – to better understand the role Latinos have played throughout this country’s development. By pointing to these historic sites, we are able to tell a more inclusive story of our American history. One that celebrates and honors the stories of all Americans.”
The American Latino Heritage Fund also applauds the designation of the Old San Juan Historic District as a National Historic Landmark. Old San Juan is the only existing representation of an almost 400-year-old Spanish Colonial city in the United States. Its inclusion as a landmark brings attention to Puerto Rico’s role in the American story and historic timeline.
The current composition within the National Historic Landmarks Program and National Register of Historic Places does not accurately reflect the diversity of the nation. The Fund helps engage the Latino community and stakeholders involved in historic preservation in identifying historic sites and places essential to understanding the impact of Latino heritage in the United States. Funding is applied toward supporting the work of nominations commemorating Latino contributions into the National Historic Landmark Program.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN LATINO HERITAGE FUND
The American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation will assist the National Park Service and communities across the country to ensure that our national parks and historic sites preserve, reflect and engage the diverse stories and communities of American Latinos for future generations. For more information, please visit www.ALHF.org.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s nearly 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places. Learn more at www.nationalparks.org.