Editor's note: This feature is part of a series of stories to mark Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15.
When Nancy Godoy began researching her family tree, she ran into some roadblocks.
“My family couldn’t remember who some family members were anymore,” she said.
That’s the problem with not documenting history — it can get lost or forgotten. Godoy's work at Arizona State University is aimed at making sure that doesn't happen for the Chicano community as a whole.
As the curator of the Chicano Research Collection at ASU’s Hayden Library, Godoy spends hours sifting through crumbling photos, decades-old campaign pins, protest pamphlets and other such Chicano"Chicano" refer to Mexican-Americans or those of Mexican heritage. "Hispanic" to countries (or their peoples) originally colonized by Spain. "Latino" is close in meaning to "Hispanic" but includes countries such as Brazil. culture memorabilia, all in the name of preserving the “collective memory of a community that is under-documented.”
This year, the collection celebrates its 45th anniversary. It was established in 1970, at the height of the Chicano Movement, in response to student and faculty demand for academic resources that reflected their personal experiences.
Christine Marin (left, pictured Sept. 4) was working in Hayden Library's bibliography department at the time when Bill Axford, then the library's new director, and Manuel Servine, who had been recruited from the University of Southern California to teach Chicano history for the first time at ASU, tapped her to be the bibliographer of the collection.
“I met Dr. Servine, I met Dr. Axford, and the two of them said, ‘Chris, do you want to be the bibliographer of the Chicano studies collection?’ ” Marin recalled. “I said, ‘Yes. What do I do?’ ”
Servine responded by handing over to Marin several bibliographies of Chicano books and sources he had prepared before coming to ASU. Along with student workers, she went through each list, checking to see what the library had and what it did not, which they then ordered.
Although academic resources were great, Servine thought the collection needed a little something extra. He told Marin to go out with her student workers and start bringing back pamphlets, posters, pins and whatever else they could find at local protests, gatherings and Mexican-American Student Organization meetings on campus.
“Little by little, we would start collecting all of this ephemera that would reflect something that was going on at the time,” Marin said. “So here I am, inching myself closer to that telephone pole, crowd over there … yanking the poster off the telephone pole, rolling it up, and saying, ‘Here, take it! Take it to the car! Hurry!’
“And then, of course, people would see me and say, ‘Chris, you don’t have to do that, we’ll give them to you!’ ”