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Oral Historian, Founder-Treasures From Aztlan, Speaker, Writer

Dr. Rebecca Dominguez-Karimi is an oral historian, founder of Treasures From Aztlan, writer, and speaker on the Florida Humanities Council. She is an adjunct professor of English and produces podcasts and radio programs. An oral historian since 2005, her Treasures From Aztlan collection contains Mexican American narrators that lived during the Jim Crow era. Currently, she is a member of the Florida Humanities Council Speaker’s Directory, presenting programs highlighting minority communities. Her non-fiction writings and academic essays have been published in several anthologies and journals.

Rebecca holds a PhD in Comparative Studies and an MA in Liberal Studies from Florida Atlantic University. She received a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of California, Irvine. Her primary research focuses on structural violence in minority communities, feminist studies, and Mexican American history. She taught for seven years at Nova Southeastern University and Broward College before moving to North Florida

Rebecca received the Frank and Courtney Brogan Award for Non-fiction and Coastlines Literary Journal published her story, entitled “Prune Face.” Bordighera Press published her non-fiction story “Café con Leche Americana” in Multicultural Reflections on “Race and Change.” Cambridge Scholars Publishing included her academic essay “ Coerced Introverts: The Forced Introversion of Women before Feminism,” in an MLA anthology. She serves on the board of The Cream Literary Alliance, a group that promotes creative writing/writers in South Florida. She is currently working on a book of short stories, entitled La Morenita.

My ancestors have navigated el Rio Triste, the River of Sadness for centuries. I too must now begin my journey, treading its infinite dark waters to drink of its pain and heartache, so I may find my voice.

            –Rebecca Dominguez-Karimi

“My great grandmother and my grandmother. Great grandma is front row-Left. Grandma is back row-far right.”
~Circa 1920s~

In 2005, Rebecca created an oral history collection entitled Treasures From Aztlan.  She gathered stories from Mexican Americans in San Antonio, Texas and focused on those living during the Jim Crow era. She holds that the oral history process provides victims of trauma with voice, validation, and vindication. All of the narrators in Treasures From Aztlan experienced trauma from racist laws and practices. Many of her narrators have passed away and she considers herself fortunate to have had the honor of hearing their stories. 

The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Rebecca with a fellowship to produce a Research Pathfinder. She focused on the archives at The African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) in Fort Lauderdale, FL. AARLCC published her Research Pathfinder entitled “African American Women in Sheet Music Cover Art 1850-1956.” Taken from the Sixto Campano sheet music collection, the pathfinder highlights the transformation of artistic images of African American women.

Rebecca was raised in the Mexican barrio of San Antonio, Texas during the last days of the Jim Crow era. She entered school prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when racist laws and practices still abounded. Growing up she heard many stories from family and friends about racism, discrimination, segregation and deportation that targeted Mexican Americans. Racially restrictive housing covenants divided San Antonio into different ethnic enclaves and the adverse effects still plague minority communities today. 

As a first generation American Rebecca struggled with her identity as the dominant Anglo culture clashed with her Mexican one. She led a bifurcated childhood, speaking Spanish at home and English at school. Although she continues to straddle the border of both cultures, she traveled on El Rio Triste and found her voice!

Florida Humanities Council Presentations 

Rebecca wrote and produced a podcast entitled “I’m an American” that she presents for The Florida Humanities Council.  For many Hispanics, despite being born in the United States, their citizenship is constantly called into question. Citizenship rights and civil rights run in tandem and this program explores how Jim Crow laws (1876-1965) affected this community. Legal authorities enforced racist laws against them in schools, government, and public places, including churches. The presentation features a Latina’s painful memories about discrimination and how she voiced her rights as an American citizen. 

Rebecca presents “African American Women in Sheet Music Cover Art 1850-1956” for the Florida Humanities Council. This talk, also named “Representations of La Femme,” discusses the evolution of the African American woman in sheet music art. The artistic images range from early 19th century plantation life to the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. It is accompanied by archival music.

My grandparents – recent immigrants from Mexico. Due to Civil War in Mexico
~1914 or 15~

“When I was born they called me Latin, when I entered school they called me Mexican, when I graduated they called me Chicana and now they call me Hispanic.
BUT THEY NEVER CALLED ME AMERICAN.”

                                                         ~Rebecca Dominguez-Karimi

Workshops 

Rebecca teaches several types of workshops. Her hands on oral history training workshop “Collecting Community Voices” focuses on all facets of gathering oral histories. Oral histories can be used for personal projects (i.e. genealogy) or community use. She will provide the necessary tools to ensure a successful outcome and compliance with the Oral History Association guidelines. (3 hours) 

Rebecca’s Memoir Writing Workshop “Ready, Get Set, Write!” covers the basics of memoir writing. The workshop looks at techniques on how to get your story started. Numerous writing prompts and exercises are given throughout the workshop to get the creative juices flowing. In class readings are provided plus participants will be required to read some selections prior to class. Laptops or tablets are helpful, but not required. (6 hours)

As an oral historian Dr. Rebecca Karimi is doing important and timely work. She explores the intricacies of Mexican heritage and culture and racial experiences in the U.S. using her skillful storytelling as a radio producer to translate the poignancy of those stories to the world. -Dr. Kitty Oliver, “Race and Change” author, oral historian, media producer, and speaker www.kittyoliveronline.com

Dr. Kitty Oliver
author, oral historian, media producer, and speaker

At one of our first meetings, Dr. Dominguez-Karimi spoke about her research (Jim Crow racism in the Mexican American community) with passion and clarity. Several people approached her after she spoke to say that her work on racism and social injustice was fascinating. Many noted they hadn’t heard much about Chicano history prior to her talk. At this point in our nation’s history, this topic is incredibly important. Many people do not have a strong understanding of Mexican-American historical relations. Dr. Karimi-Dominquez is uniquely qualified to lift the veil on this important topic. – Ann Mallen, The Cream Literary Alliance, Inc.

Ann Mallen
The Cream Literary Alliance, Inc.

Publications, Productions, and Presentations

Writing/Productions 

Oral History as a Means of Moral Repair:

Jim Crow Racism and the Mexican Americans of San Antonio (Doctoral dissertation) 
Coerced Introverts: The Forced Introversion of Women before Feminism

From: An Introvert in an Extrovert World: Essays on the Quiet Ones

Cambridge Scholars Publishing 

Pruneface

Winner, Frank and Courtney Brogan Non-Fiction Writing Award

Coastlines Literary Magazine, Florida Atlantic University 

Voices of Race and Change

Co-producer, Wavelengths Internet Radio Archives, Florida Atlantic University 

Representations of La Femme:

Portrayals of African American Women in Sheet Music Cover Art 1850-1956

Research Pathfinder, African American Research Library and Cultural Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 

Café con Leche Americana

From Multicultural Reflections on “Race and Change,” Bordighera Press 

La Morenita Podcast

Wavelengths Internet Radio, Florida Atlantic University 

Café Con Leche Podcast

Wavelengths Internet Radio, Florida Atlantic University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 

Mariposas

From: Coastlines Literary Magazine, Florida Atlantic University 

Hope for Hard Times

Writer/producer, Project Hannah Ministry, Women of Hope Radio program, Trans World Radio

Presentations

Best Strategies for Creating a Writing Life
Palm Beach County Library

Oral History as a Means of Moral Repair: The Problem
The Cream Literary Alliance meeting, West Palm Beach, FL

Transformations: Oral History and Memoir Writing Class series
MCCI Senior Center, West Palm Beach, FL

Oral History as a Means of Moral Repair:
Jim Crow Racism in the Mexican American community of San Antonio, Texas
Texas Oral History Association, Waco, TX

Musings from the Goddesses Tonantzin and Xochiquetzal
Florida Atlantic University Interdisciplinary and Environmental Sustainability Conference 

Adobe Audition Workshop Primer
Florida Atlantic University School of Communication, Broadcast Journalism class

Oral History as a Means of Moral Repair: Paper and podcast
Nova Southeastern University Symposium on Socio-Political Meanings of Human Rights in Cultural Contexts

Pearl City Reunion Oral History Project, Methodology Primer
Principal co-investigator, Florida Atlantic University and Pearl City Reunion Committee

Adobe Audition Workshop Primer
Florida Atlantic University School of Communication, Broadcast Journalism class

Oral History Interviewing Techniques for the Genealogist
Broward County African American Genealogical Society

Power Point Workshop: How to embed music and other advanced features
African American Research Library & Cultural Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 

Representations of La Femme:
Portrayals of African American Women in Sheet Music Cover Art 1850-1956
Black Women’s History Month. African American Research Library & Cultural Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Adobe Audition Workshop Primer
Florida Atlantic University School of Communication, Broadcast Journalism class

I’m an American: Literacy in Mexican Americans, Paper and podcast
Valdosta State University Wiregrass Literary Festival, Valdosta, GA

Hispanic Women’s Voices of Hope, Paper and podcast
Oral History Association National Meeting, Providence, RI

Café con Leche Podcast
University of Southern California Parties/Shared Spaces Symposium, Los Angeles, CA

Café Con Leche Podcast
Florida Atlantic University Graduate Research Symposium, Third Place Award

Café con Leche Podcast
Florida Atlantic University Alleyways Symposium

Sister Carmen
From Hervine, University of California, Irvine

La Morenita
From Hervine, University of California, Irvine

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