Black Archives hosts noted historian

Paul Ortiz meeting students and signing their books. Photo by Vanessa Ferguson

Students, faculty and members of the community gathered Tuesday evening to hear Paul Ortiz discuss his books, “An African American and Latinx History of the United States” and “Emancipation Betrayed.”

The event, hosted by Larry Rivers, a distinguished professor of history at Florida A&M, was held in the Meek Eaton Black Archives and Museum as part of the university’s series of events to celebrate Black History Month.

Ortiz is an associate professor of history at the University of Florida. He has published several books and essays. He is also the proctor of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.

There were more than 50 attendees at Tuesday’s event. Attendees got the chance to learn about interconnections between the Black and Latinx community, and also received the opportunity to meet Ortiz and get their books signed by him.

Even though, Florida A&M University junior Kamau Sahu Louis, a political science major, said he came to the event because it was a class assignment, but he added that he took a lot away from the lecture.

“My biggest take away is that we need to take time and reflect how the United States has affected Latin America politically and economically,” Louis said.

To keep students informed and engaged they received a couple of handouts and also had an opportunity to ask Ortiz questions. One of the handouts was titled “Seeing History Differently: Five Key Terms from: An African American and Latinx History of the United States.”

American Exceptionalism, Emancipatory Internationalism, Racial Capitalism, Global South, and Hemispheric Liberation Movement were the defined terms in the handout.

Knowing where your rights come from and not taking them for granted are two reasons why Ortiz believes that students should know their history.

“Telling our stories, getting the truth out and talking to each other, and sharing our stories about suffering and struggle is so very important. This is why I wanted to become a historian,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said he was excited to be back in the Black Archives.

“It was always a beautiful building. I enjoyed seeing the update,” he added.

Ortiz encouraged students to take Professor Rivers’ courses. Rivers is known for his books “Slavery in Florida” and “Rebels and Runaways.”

FAMU is hosting more events to celebrate Black History Month. A list of events can be found on the FAMU news website.