National Park Service – Environment for the Americas
2015 Latino Heritage Internship Program


Route 66 Hispanic Heritage Study in New Mexico
Position Description

This project, entitled “Route 66 Hispanic Heritage Study in New Mexico”, will involve historical research into an important but little known topic, which is the role that Hispanics played in the history and development of Route 66. According to a Route 66 Economic Impact Study conducted by Rutgers University, Hispanic populations along the route are currently twice the national average, underscoring the need to better synthesize Hispanic heritage with the understanding and commemoration of the Mother Road. To date, little of the existing literature and interpretation of Route 66 has focused on Hispanic contributions and experiences of the highway.

The intern will focus their research in New Mexico, and examine questions such as how many Hispanics lived in New Mexico’s Route 66 communities during the historic period of significance; who were the major Hispanic families and businesses in these communities; what has been documented historically about Hispanic experiences of the road; and Hispanic perspectives and involvement on Route 66 today.

To answer these questions, the intern will gather information from U.S. census data; conduct research at Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico as well as at other libraries and public agencies; and meet Hispanic business owners and leaders in Route 66 communities. Information will be sought for both rural and urban Route 66 communities throughout New Mexico. The results of the research will lay the groundwork for future research, preservation, interpretive, and economic development efforts along the Route 66 corridor, both in New Mexico and in other states.

For additional information visit the Environment for the Americas website.