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CUNY Dominican Studies Institute

Goals for 2014

A premier research Institute that produces knowledge, transforms academia, and resonates in people's homes:

In the tradition of the CUNY DSI, the research project Juan Rodriguez and the Beginnings of New York City was released and its contents made headlines in local and international news outlets, including the New York Times, BBC News, and CBS local news, USA-UK, among many others. The analysis of archival documents, including records from the Archdiocese of the Dominican Republic, the oldest Catholic church in the Americas, and the Notarial Archives of Holland,  were brought together for the first time to tell the story of Juan Rodriguez, a free mulatto man who came from Santo Domingo in 1613 and settled in Manhattan. The Dominican Rodriguez is the first, non-native immigrant person in recorded history who settled along the Hudson River in what today is known as New York City. This remarkable story has scholars scratching their heads about the origins of
New York City, has fired the imagination of our school children, taxi drivers, and ordinary immigrant men and women who see a little of themselves in Juan Rodriguez. In the summer of 2013, as the world watched, a long piece (extending from 168th to 207th street), of Broadway, the oldest and one of the most recognized streets in New York City, was named Juan Rodriguez Way for everyone to see and for everyone to remember.
A Library and Archives that reach beyond:

The center of the Dominican Archives and Library houses a multipurpose room, a state of the art facility, which has truly become a meeting place for the gathering of minds. Convening academia and members of the public at large, the multipurpose room has hosted numerous exhibits of seasoned and up and coming artists, as well as scholarly lectures and seminars.  All events are open to the public free of charge and organized during evening hours and weekends to accommodate a variety of audiences.  Irrespective of budgetary attrition, our library remains open on Saturdays and during evening hours one night per week to accommodate evening students as well as members of the community who are unable to visit the library during the typical 9-to-5 Monday through Friday schedule. Hundreds of school children from throughout New York City attend regular workshops at the Dominican Archives and Library throughout the year. Workshops tailored to children's needs, including those that are mentally challenged, are part of our dynamic school programs that also include seminars for teachers to fulfill professional development requirements and the creation of curricula that honor the contribution and the legacy of the Dominican people both here in the U.S. and in our ancestral homeland, the Dominican Republic.


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