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SPOTLIGHT ON:

Rafael Hernandez

Date of Birth: 08-28-1927
Interviewed by: Juan De La Cruz
WWII Military Unit: Navy



By Juliana Torres

Though also a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Rafael Hernandez says it was World War II that created significant opportunities for Latinos.

"That was the best thing that happened to me: to go ahead and serve my country, fight for something that I believe and, at the same time, better myself," said Hernandez, who enlisted in the Navy on Oct. 10, 1944, on the encouragement of his two older ...

Continue reading the story of Rafael Hernandez.

BIENVENIDOS

The Voces Oral History Project documents and creates a better awareness of the contributions of U.S. Latinos and Latinas of the WWII, Korean War and Vietnam War generations. The project was created in 1999 by UT journalism professor Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez and initially focused solely on the WWII generation. At the time, it was known as the U.S. Latino & Latina WWII Oral History Project. In 2010, the project expanded into the Korean War and the Vietnam War generations of Latinos and Latinas, made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. With the expanded scope came a new name: Voces Oral History Project. Most of our interviews have been of military veterans, but we have also documented the broader Latino civilian experience of men and women alike. Original materials are housed at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection on the UT campus. On our site you will find hundreds of stories, thousands of photos, oral history training videos and all the forms and guidelines you need to submit a videotaped interview or a tribute to the project.

Since its inception in 1999, Voces has made a difference: photographs from its archives have been used in documentaries, books and exhibits. Interviews have been mined for new interpretations of the U.S. Latino experience, resulting in several books and other publications. Voces has become a key resource in other ways as well: referring some of our interview subjects to documentary film producers, journalists and organizations looking for a Latino perspective on WWII, the Vietnam War period, etc.

Each interview costs Voces a minimum of $600 to process – from videotaping the interview to putting the finished story and photographs on our Website. Some costs are donated by dedicated volunteers –- including some regular contributors. We simply couldn’t operate without them.

We strive to provide the best technical and journalistic products within our capability because it is crucial that the Latino experience be more firmly woven into the story of our country. If you believe that our work is important, please support it with a donation.