Nuestro South: The YouTube Series

PI: Julie Weise of History

A crowd of protestors one of whom is holding the American flag.

Thousands of Latinx youth who are currently living in the Southern region of the United States rarely see themselves represented in standard history schoolbooks. The lives of Mexican merchants, sharecroppers, bracero guest workers, and migrant workers across the Southern region are largely left out of history classes, preventing Latinx youth from discovering and celebrating their own roots in the regions where they live.

With the support of the Whiting Foundation Seed Grant and the UO College of Arts and Sciences, History professor Julie Weise joined with partners in North Carolina to start the Nuestro South podcast in 2019 to help Latinx youth establish an understanding of their influence on the region’s history. 

Now, with a $50,000 Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship, Weise and her team are expanding their podcast to a new season, Nuestro South Loud and Proud, that draws in historians and anthropologists of Southern Latinx topics and includes conversations with Latinx youth across the country. They have also expanded their social media presence  and will soon release a three-part YouTube series in which Latinx youth hosts share history; North Carolina Latinx artists illustrate the episodes with graphic art. 

“This is an opportunity to develop something critical for students. To feel like you’re rooted and that you belong where you live changes your life,” Weise said. “And the students have felt that way about their participation in this project, so I’m happy to support innovation on our campus to help students who don’t fit the traditional white Oregon mold, to help place themselves here and help them understand the people who have come before them.” 

Focused on Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina, the podcast and video episodes include conversations with students, parents, and educators. This has coincided with a large social media push and other digital storytelling methods to create a collection of identity and history-based content for Southern Latinx youth. 

“To see what this means to students who are having the opportunity to engage in their history has been incredible. I think we need to spend a lot more time thinking about the Latinx history of this country and particularly of this region. History matters so much to a lot of people, and it can help them make sense of their own lives,” Weise said. 

The Nuestro South episodes are currently available on a variety of podcast providers, and YouTube episodes launched in Summer 2021.