More than 300,000 Puerto Ricans now live in metropolitan Orlando, which has become the new preferred destination of those resettlers from the island and northeastern states, says Dr. Luis Martínez-Fernández, a UCF History professor who will speak Tuesday, Oct. 9, at the Orange County Regional History Center about the influx and its social, cultural and political impact.
“The highest numbers are still in New York and Chicago,” Martínez-Fernández said, “but while northeastern Puerto Rican populations are declining, Central Florida’s is growing.”
As part of the history center’s lecture series, he will discuss the factors that attract Puerto Ricans and other Hispanics here, including job opportunities, better schools and more affordable housing.
Martínez-Fernández, an expert on Hispanic/Latino history and culture, says that while the Puerto Ricans coming to the area have assimilated into the community, they have been able to hold onto their cultural traditions and establish organizations and institutions similar to those on the island .
The History Center lecture will be 7-8:30 p.m. at 65 E. Central Blvd. Admission is $5 for nonmembers of the history center. Snacks will be provided.
Martínez-Fernández also recently was interviewed on the relevance of the Hispanic vote in Florida for the PBS “Need to Know” program airing Oct. 19.
Another event by a UCF historian will take place the following day. As part of UCF’s Department of History Authors Book Series coordinated by Martínez-Fernández, Dr. Brendan Lindsay, an adjunct instructor, will present his new book, “Murder State: California’s Native American Genocide, 1846-1873.”
The free program will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. in Room 401 of Colbourn Hall.