Lisa Jarvinen, Associate Professor of History, and Conrad Gleber, Professor of Digital Art and Media Design, both at La Salle University in Philadelphia, began this project in late 2012. After beginning a collaboration based on a mutual interest in Cuban studies, we discovered that our institution had historic ties to Cuba through the presence of De La Salle Brothers there. After an interview with a Cuban Brother who was resident on campus, we began an initially modest oral history project based on interviews with Brothers who had left Cuba in 1961 due to the Revolution.
This first phase of the project revealed that while the departure was a dramatic story, it raised deeper questions about the significance of the events and their aftermath. Ultimately, we developed research questions that asked how the changes of the 1960s—from the political upheavals in Cuba and the Dominican Republic to the transformation within the Catholic Church provoked by the Second Vatican Council—affected this group’s sense of their mission. We also expanded our focus for interviews from Brothers to include former Brothers and selected individuals closely associated with La Salle institutions.
From 2012 to 2015, we conducted more than forty interviews in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. This website and the audio stories it hosts are based on these interviews and on extensive archival research. A collection of full interviews (transcriptions and audios) is available to researchers through Connelly Library at La Salle University. Please see: [web address]