Archives for Hispanic-American History

People & Stories Oral History Project: Aurelio Saiz

Did you know that Juanita Castro, Fidel’s sister, spent a night in White Plains? That story and many others come from Aurelio Saiz’s oral history in which he describes moving with his family to White Plains from Cuba. The Saiz Family lived in a building on the corner of Main Street and Mamaroneck Avenue at a time when dozens of businesses had elaborate storefronts and narrower streets still accommodated two-way traffic. His bedroom windows were directly across from the marquee of RKO Keith’s Theater! Saiz is a great storyteller. He conveys a vivid version of growing up on the streets
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Dennis Polanco

Probably known to most White Plains residents as “Mr. Polanco,” since that is what students in his English classes at White Plains High School call him, Dennis Polanco is in fact much more than a teacher. He is a father, musician, and community leader who has great insights into our city.
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Shirley Acevedo Buontempo

Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, Founder and Executive Director of Latino U College Access, is People & Stories’ first multi-lingual oral history!  Below are interviews conducted by Ben Himmelfarb and Mariel Perez–one in English, one in Spanish. In both interviews, Buontempo discusses emigrating from Puerto Rico to the Bronx at age ten.  Education and service have always been important to Buontempo, and when she attended Pace University she was introduced to White Plains (through trips to the Galleria!).  She had a career in advertising focused on reaching Latino people, and developed an interest in connecting Latino youth with higher education through her
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Categories: History and Oral History.

People & Stories Oral History Project: Isabel Villar

Isabel Villar is the Executive Director of El Centro Hispano, an organization that supports the Hispanic Community in White Plains. She is also a longtime resident of White Plains, arriving from Cuba in the late-1960s. In this oral history, Villar describes the experience of being a Hispanic immigrant in White Plains. She tells stories about her first educational and professional experiences, and reflects on the character of Hispanic immigrants in White Plains. Villar’s story is one from among over 17,000 Hispanic people in White Plains and is a great way to begin to gain a sense of what life is
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Categories: History and Oral History.