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TCU 360

Historian wants people to view America’s history from an outsider’s perspective

Historian wants people to view Americas history from an outsiders perspective

Dr. Paul Ortiz, associate professor of history and director of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida, spoke at TCU Thursday about his novel, “An African American and Latinx History of the United States.”

The Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) Department, in an event co-sponsored by the City of Fort Worth Human Relations Unit, invited Ortiz to TCU.

As a member of the United States Armed Forces serving in both Central and South America, Ortiz noticed that others abroad did not view United States history the way he had learned it in school.

“It’s only possible to write the history of the United States from the outside looking in,” Ortiz said.

With this in mind, Ortiz published his novel to explain how nations in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America shaped the development of the United States over a span of more than two and a half centuries.

Ortiz also said his goal in writing this novel was to change the nationalistic framework of United States history.

Ortiz’s book on sale at the campus bookstore. (Photo by Dylan Guest.) 

Frank Valadez, a sophomore CRES major, believes it’s important for others to understand this, especially in today’s political climate.

“African American and Latino people are largely portrayed as ‘thugs’ or ‘illegal aliens,’ and since this kind of framing of minorities is perpetuated by President Trump, we as a community should learn the historical importance and presence of these people in the United States.”

During his talk, Ortiz read several passages of his novel to the crowd, but made sure not to reveal too much.

“I can’t read the whole book or else you guys won’t buy it,” Ortiz jokingly said.

Ortiz also had high praise for the TCU’s CRES Department.

“Creating this study at TCU creates a ripple effect of allowing others to dream about educational possibilities and opens up partnerships between the university and other communities,” Ortiz said.

Ethnic studies has become a gateway to education for colored students, working-class students, and first-generation college students, according to Ortiz.

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