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Norma Small-Warren interview, 2021-08-03

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc036_04.wav

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2021-08-03


Biographical / Historical

Small-Warren immigrated from Panama to Washington, D.C. to study for her PhD at Howard University. After graduation she was hired as Professor of Planetary Sciences and still teaches at Howard today. She married, had two children and five grandchildren, and has been the Director of GUFOLPAWA for 45 years. Her mother, Olga Small, started the group in the early days of the DC Latino Festival when it took place in Adams Morgan. Small-Warren has been active in many local community groups and taken her folkloric dance group to perform in many other states. She recruits and trains young people to learn the diverse Panamanian dances. She leads her group in presentations at schools and venues throughout the metropolitan region.


From the Collection: 855 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Audio interview of Norma Small-Warren. She describes how her mother, Olga Small, started the Panamanian folkloric group, and how it grew when the Festival moved to the Mall in 1989. Small-Warren reflects on how the Festival brought Latinos together with the common goal of presenting the dances and music from the various Latin American countries. She believes that the Festival outgrew its space on Columbia Road and that exposure on Constitution Avenue and the Mall was the way to expand the Festival and reflect the growth of the Latino community. Small-Warren describes how the goal was to entertain Latinos, but also to expose the broader American public to the dances, customs, and food of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001