MORRISTOWN, NJ -The Morris County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MCHACC) in collaboration with Chad Leinaweaver of the Morristown and Morris Township Public Library celebrated the 100th birthday of resident Antonio Cardona and to discuss the library’s new oral history project.
Recently, the library began working with MCHACC to preserve the history of Hispanic residents who came to Morris County in the latter part of the 20th century, by conducting oral histories and developing collections to archive in the North Jersey History & Genealogy Center of the Library.
“In past years the History Center staff of the Library have interviewed Irish and African American residents and collaborated on publications documenting their history,” said Library Director Chad Leinaweaver in a press release. “We wanted to do the same with the Hispanic Community in greater Morristown in order to document their history for future generations. Working with the highly-respected Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce was an obvious start for us with this project.”
Reference Librarian at Morristown Library Luis Muñoz also spoke about the importance of this new program and encouraged everyone to participate.
“One of the things that made me so happy to come to the library was to be part of collecting these histories of the Latino Community and seeing such a proud community here.” said Muñoz.
Others who attended this event included Mayor Timothy Dougherty, Morris County Freeholder Heather Darling and James Lewis, head of the North Jersey History & Genealogy Center. Esperanza Porras-Field, the Founder and President Emeritus of the MCHACC was chairwoman for the event and served as the Master of Ceremonies.
Heather Darling spoke about the importance of celebrating the history Latin American community in Morris County and honoring Cardona on his birthday.
“Mr. Cardona is an excellent example of the importance of culture. He has been in the country for so many years yet his family has traveled all the from Colombia to honor his special day,” said Darling. “This speaks to two things: one, the diversity of our community and two, what a great man Mr. Cardona is.”
Antonio Cardona was born in Sonson, Antioquia, Colombia on August 26, 1918. He married his longtime partner, Judith Betancourth de la Pava in 1949 and they had nine children , 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Judith passed away in 2005. He moved to America in November 1972 and within a few months came to Morristown to work at Morristown Memorial Hospital. He has since retired from the hospital but still resides in his first home in Morristown.
With the help of an interpreter, Cardona thanked everyone for attending and said that he is looking forward to celebrating again in another one hundred years.