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Afternoon Tertulia – Pura Belpre’s Pérez y Martina: 90 Years Later

Afternoon Tertulia – Pura Belpre’s Pérez y Martina: 90 Years Later

Event Organizer: Center for Puerto Rican Studies

Cost: Free

Virtual Event Virtual Event

November 14, 2022 @ 6:00 pm 6:45 pm EST

November 2022 marks the 90th anniversary of the first bilingual book published in the country, Pura Belpre’s “Perez y Martina”! This Puerto Rican folktale regales the adventures of Martina, a Spanish cockroach of high degree, and her many suitors. Join William Walker of SUNY Oneonta, Paloma Celis Carbajal of the New York Public Library, and CENTRO Library Manager, Aníbal Arocho as they discuss Pura Belpre, the importance of representation and access to bilingual stories, and the impact research centers have in preserving this history. This event is put on in partnership with BoriMix.

Paloma Celis Carbajal, serves as the Curator for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies Collections. She is responsible for the development of the collections in these areas in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Prior to joining The New York Public Library, she served for 14 years as the Bibliographer for Ibero-American Studies and Romance Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her most recent publication is “Cartonera Publishers: Of Cardboard Boxes and Cultural Capital” in The Routledge Companion to Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Latin American Literary and Cultural Forms, New York: Routledge, 2022.

William S. Walker is associate professor of history at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Museum Studies, SUNY Oneonta. He is the author of A Living Exhibition: The Smithsonian and the Transformation of the Universal Museum (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013) and an editor of The Inclusive Historian’s Handbook (inclusivehistorian.com). The Handbook is a digital resource co-sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History and the National Council on Public History (NCPH). Walker has also served as a lead editor for History@Work, the NCPH blog, and as an editor of the New York History journal. An active public historian, he frequently collaborates with students to create diverse community-based programming. The main focus of Walker’s teaching and public history practice is inclusive programming rooted in dialogic methodologies. He is a recognized leader in the field of public history who is committed to advancing inclusion in the world of museums and historical institutions. His current book project is New York Storytellers and America’s Roots Renaissance, 1920-1940. It examines the critical role played by New York-based storytellers, such as Pura Belpré, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jesse Cornplanter, in defining the diverse and multilingual heritage of the United States


Aníbal Arocho is the Library Manager at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies Library & Archive at CUNY Hunter College. He manages library reference services and a growing collection of over 18,000 items. He holds a Masters of Science in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute.