Established on April 24, 1800, the Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, holding over 167 million items that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” These works include books, printed materials, audio recordings, sheet music, maps, manuscripts, photographs, and films. If a work is selected, it means that it is an integral part of the country’s history and culture.
The Library’s collections of Latin American and Caribbean (and Iberian) works, containing over 10 million items, are “the largest and most complete in the world.” The following 13 works (many are a recognizable part of Latinx culture—all you should know!) by Latinxs were added to the Library of Congress, ensuring their preservation for generations to come.
“Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
The 1987 jam “Rhythm is Gonna Get You” was added to the Library of Congress in 2017. It was just announced that Emilio and Gloria Estefan will be honored with the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize—the first time a married couple, and Latino musicians-songwriters, have received the lifetime achievement award.
Boulevard Nights is a 1979 film about two brothers in East L.A. One is on the straight and narrow, while the other gets caught up in gang life. The movie is considered a classic, which is now preserved in the Library of Congress.
Lamento Borincano, Canario y Su Grupo
Lamento Boricano is a classic Puerto Rican song, which has been covered by artists including Marc Anthony, Chavela Vargas, and Javier Solís. It was composed by Rafael Hernández Marín and released in 1929.
Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection
The Fuentes Family Home Movies Collection depicted Chicano family life, in Corpus Christi, during the 1920s and ’30s. The movies were added to the Library of Congress’s 2017 National Film Registry.
Bless Me, Ultima; Rudolfo Anaya
Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima was on many a high school’s reading list; it was also banned in many high schools. The book, which is about a Chicano boy (Antonio) and his grandmother (Ultima), in 1940s New Mexico, was added to the Library of Congress’s “Books That Shaped America.”
Joan Baez, Joan Baez
Joan Baez’s self-titled album, Joan Baez, was released in 1960. It was the singer-songwriter-activist’s debut album.
Chulas fronteras is a documentary on Tex-Mex music, a Chicano genre that emerged from the Texas/Mexico border. The film was released in 1976, and was added to the Library of Congress in 1993.
Celia & Johnny, Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco
Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco are legends. It’s fitting, then, that their 1974 joint album, Celia & Johnny was selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2013.
We all know La Bamba is a classic. The 1987 film, which chronicles the life and career of singer Richie Valens, was added to the Library of Congress in 2017.
“The Words of César Chávez,” César Chávez
The Words of Cesar Chavez gives a glimpse into the civil rights hero, through his powerful speeches and words. The book is also on the “Books That Shaped America” list.
Chicano artist Rupert Garcia’s 1975 vibrant silkscreen print of Frida Kahlo is included in the Library of Congress. The French Camp, California native, was a part of the Chicano Art Movement and is known for his colorful poster art, which often included political messages.
Voto Latino Website
Voto Latino, the organization that has kept us educated and informed on the Latinx vote, had it’s website archived in the Library of Congress. The archive covers 2008 to 2017.