New Lehman Course Explores “The Roots of our Hispanic Heritage”

Professor Miguel Perez

Professor Miguel Perez

So which came first? The Spanish conquistadors or the British colonists? Jamestown or St. Augustine? The Spanish language or the English language? Hernando de Soto or Lewis and Clark? Do you know who celebrated America’s first Christmas? Where the city of Galveston, Tx. got its name?

A new Lehman College course—LEH 354 “The Roots of Our Hispanic Heritage”—will explore many chapters of American history that are seldom covered in U.S. history books and classrooms. The course is designed to introduce students to the most important people, events and landmarks marking the history of Hispanics in North America.

Journalism Professor Miguel Pérez, will be teaching this interdisciplinary analysis of the role of Latinos in American history. The course is based on Perez’s, a decade-long research project (and book in progress) that has taken him all over the country in search of unheralded Hispanic people, places and events most history texts ignore.

“The students taking this course will know why so many American states, cities, rivers and other landmarks are named in Spanish,” says Pérez. “They will know that Hispanic roots have been firmly planted here for 500 years. They will know that Hernando de Soto explored the North American wilderness long before Lewis and Clark and that St. Augustine, Fl. was founded 42 years before Jamestown, Va., although Jamestown calls itself ‘America’s Birthplace.’”

Pérez, is an award-winning journalist who covered the Hispanic community for various publications for more than three decades, developed a passion for more knowledge about Hispanic American history. This course will require various disciplines, from library and internet research, to visiting and photographing historical sites, and blogging about them. LEH 354 will meet on Fridays from 2 to 4:40 p.m. The only prerequisite is a a thirst for knowledge about Hispanic heritage.