100 years of hispanic history of Lorain


LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – The town of Lorain was once the center of Hispanic culture in our region. Now there is a new effort to preserve this story and share it with the younger generations.

Eileen Torres has fond memories of Vine Avenue, established as a result of discrimination and anchored by the steel mill.

“When I was growing up it was a center of activity,” Torres said. “The Mexican community started out as the predominant community. My grandfather came here in 1921 from Mexico, recruited to work at the steel plant.

The Lorain Historical Society is trying to tell the story of Torres’ grandfather and thousands of other Latinos in a new exhibit, “Celebrating 100 Years: Latino History in Lorain”.

“The Latino community was very under-represented in what we had in our collection, in our history,” said Barbara Piscopo, Executive Director. Two years ago, she formed a collaboration with Oberlin College and El Centro, a nonprofit social service agency run by Victor Leandry.

“Our dreams are big. We want to have a place in the future where we can exhibit and display the story, so that’s one of the steps to get there, ”said Leandry.

In 1947, US Steel was looking for workers after World War II. They hired 500 Puerto Rican men and the population only grew.

“We are considered a predominant Puerto Rican community. We make 30% of the city, is Latino and 40% of the school system is Latino, ”Leandry said.

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