This essay will attempt to explain why it has taken so long for the city/state and public history organizations in Boston to begin to embrace the heritage of its Latino/a communities in public history projects. It will contextualize early attempts in the 1970s and 1980s to develop and promote Latino/a public history projects and exhibits and will discuss changes that have occurred in the 1990s. The second part of the essay will discuss how issues of representation, power, and participation have been addressed by two recent projects that have attempted to incorporate Latino/a history in Boston. The city of Boston has been selected as a case-study for a number of reasons. First, Boston is one of a few cities in the U.S. where public history projects have national repercussions. The combination of a high concentration of institutions of higher education, and the city's attractiveness to visitors fascinated by the U.S. colonial, maritime and independence history makes Boston a national leader in the field of public history. Second, the situation in Boston -- where increased hostility towards immigrants, affirmative action, and bilingualism - is representative of recent trends in urban centers throughout the U.S and allows for important comparisons. Finally, the selection of Boston is significant because it breaks from traditional studies that limit Latino/a history issues to cities that have a larger percentage of Latinos/as in its population such as Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Within the small field of Latino/a public history including case studies of cities such as Boston is crucial because Boston is probably more representative of national trends than are the large cities mentioned earlier.
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