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Three New Archival Collections Feature Former Congressman and Two Artists

Three of the newest collections at the Centro Archives that are now open to the public for viewing are those of Robert García, the former congressman of the Bronx; Carlos Ortiz, a photographer and filmmaker who documented the Bronx and Latin jazz; and Ray Ramos, a composer, sonero, performer and bandleader with over 40 years in the music business.

You are welcome to explore the finding aids for these collections, which provide historical and biographical information as well as a description and detailed listing of the content. The finding aids are located on the Centro web site. The collections are held at the Centro Archives housed at the Silberman School of Social Work in East Harlem.

Here are snapshots of the three new collections:

The Robert García Congressional Papers document the career of Robert García, a U.S. Representative of the South Bronx (1978-1990), at the time the poorest congressional district in the country.

Born in 1933, García was a member of the New York State Assembly (1965-1967), the New York State Senate (1967-1978), and represented the South Bronx in the U.S. House of Representatives (1978-1990). He was the first New York-born Puerto Rican to serve in the U.S. Congress. His political career exhibits a commitment to civil rights, ethical foreign policy, humane immigration reform and bilingual education. Throughout his career, García was an advocate for the needs of Hispanic and minority communities. His papers chronicle his work on the Post Office and Civil Service Committees, the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committees, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and his legislative work on issues of interest, such as immigration reform, bilingual education, and teen pregnancy. The collection also contains administrative and case files, personal and biographical information, records pertaining to his reelection campaigns, public relations materials and subject files. Also included are photographs, artifacts, and audio and video recordings.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department. For more information,http://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/sites/default/files/faids/pdf/Garcia_Robert_Finding_Aid_rev.pdf

The Carlos Ortiz Collection, documents the life of the late Bronx photographer, documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the Nubia Music Society. This collection was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.

Born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 1947, Carlos Gonzalo Ortiz and his family moved to New York City when he was about three years old.

The long-time resident of the South Bronx captured life in the Bronx in photos and film, in good times and bad. As a devoted fan, he also documented the evolution of Latin jazz and salsa music by showcasing its greatest stars. Under Nubia, Ortiz co-produced and directed the documentary “Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy” (1985).

The Carlos Ortiz Collection documents the creator’s two main interests: Latin music and the South Bronx. It is a resource for research on the history of the South Bronx, and in particular, the Puerto Rican community in the Longwood neighborhood, from the dire 1970s to the rebirth in the 1990s. The collection also serves to understand the New York Latin jazz and salsa scene and its legendary stars in a musical and historical context: Ray Barretto, Celia Cruz, Frank “Machito” Grillo, Charlie Palmieri and Tito Puente. As a devoted fan, he also documented the evolution of Latin jazz and salsa music by showcasing its greatest stars. Under Nubia, Ortiz co-produced and directed the documentary “Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy” (1985).

It contains materials on the political movements, demonstrations and protests in the city over the course of thirty years. Community institutions such as the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre and the United Bronx Parents are also represented.

The collection spans from 1971 to 2005, with the bulk of the materials dating between 1976 and 1993. It includes the Nubia Music Society’s papers, correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, pamphlets, photographs (negatives, prints and slides), and audiovisual materials. The folders are organized alphabetically, with some exceptions. The materials are for the most part in English and some in Spanish.

His collection also includes the research and production materials for various documentary projects.

For more information on the Ortiz collection, visithttp://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/sites/default/files/faids/pdf/Ortiz_Carlos_Finding_Aid.pdf

The Ray Ramos Collection highlights the career of the multi-faceted musician who has 20 recorded CDs and an estimate of 60 recorded tracks. He has performed with ‘El Conjunto Saoco’ and is the founding member of La Charanga Sensual and the Ray Ramos y Su Sonora Orchestra.

Ramos was born on June 19, 1947 and grew up in East Harlem. As a teenager, he sang Doo-Wop with a group of Puerto Ricans and African Americans in their band, The Tellers. In his beginning stages as a salsa musician, he performed background vocals and lead vocals for bands such as The Ralphi Pagan Sextet and lead vocals for Joey Aponte, Louie Rey and others. In 1976, he joined El Conjunto Saoco, recording his first album with Salsoul Records as lead singer. He also recorded three albums with Saoco. He formed his own band La Charanga Sensual and later formed the Ray Ramos y Su Sonora Orchestra in 1981. Ramos signed with Kim Records in 1982, recording his first LP titled “Ray Ramos y Su Sonora” and his second LP titled “Salsa Tracks.” In 1987, he recorded with Palm Records and in 1988 recorded “Fiesta de Besos” with El Abuelo Records. He is best known for his song “La Receta” which he wrote for Johnny Polanco. The song became very popular in Europe, leading Ramos to perform at numerous salsa clubs in London, England. “La Receta” has been featured in movies such as “Death to Smoochy,” “Dance with Me,” “Ivory Towers” and “The Way She Moves.”

He has also done extensive research on Afro-Cuban music and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. He has performed at venues such as The Copacabana, El Flamingo, La Maganet, La Bar Bat, among many others and has toured all over the world in countries such as Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, England, Canada, Martinique.

His collection includes personal items, copies and originals of his albums, CD’s, albums and DVD’s live performances, magazines and photographs. For more information, visithttp://centropr.hunter.cuny.edu/sites/default/files/faids/pdf/ray_ramos_finding_aid.pdfThe Centro Archives is open Monday through Friday by appointment only. The Silberman School of Social Work is at 2180 Third Avenue at 119th Street, Room 121. To make an appointment to view any of these collections, call (212) 396-7877.

The Guide to the Centro Archvies is available at the Centro Store.