Pa’lante in Pennsylvania: Puerto Rican Educational and Cultural Organizing through Aspira Inc. of Pennsylvania


Aspira—meaning “aspire” in Spanish—was the first professionally staffed, private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the Puerto Rican community. As a youth development organization, it provided leadership training, academic support, and cultural heritage programming to its mainly Puerto Rican students, known as Aspirantes. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) holds sixty-nine boxes of materials related to the Pennsylvania branch of the organization, a treasure trove of materials for those in terested in Latinx history, urban history, the history of education, or philanthropy from the 1960s to the present. Given the rise of the Latinx student population across the state and country, this material is particularly helpful in shedding new light on the longstanding contributions of East Coast Latinxs and their experiences with public schools.