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Vilma Williams interview, 2021-10-30

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc036_05.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: 2021-10-30


Biographical / Historical

Williams was born in Peru and immigrated to Washington, D.C. in the late 1970s. She was an exchange student and came to study English. She was supposed to go back to Peru, but she decided to stay and complete her university studies. She lived in Adams Morgan during the 1970s and became friends with many Latinos who lived in these neighborhoods. She married and has two sons and five grandchildren. She has lived for many years in Petworth. She was appointed and served on the Mayor's Office for the Commission on Latino Community Development for 5 years. Her profession is early childhood education, and she is currently the Senior Manager for the Multilingual and Special Programs at the Council for Professional Recognition, a national and an international organization that works to certify early childhood educators.


From the Collection: 855 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Audio interview of Vilma Williams. Williams describes her life in Adams Morgan and Mt. Pleasant when it was the heart of the DC Latino community. She met other Latinos and eventually volunteered to work on Festival Committees in 1988-1990. She describes how she managed to organize the 1988 Reinado (Beauty Pageant) with no money and donations from local Latino businesses. She explains that the goal of the Festival was to expose Latinos, as well as others, to Latino culture, music, and dances. She felt very proud when the Festival moved downtown to the Monument grounds and the Mall. She believes that 'the community had reached a goal that had seemed almost impossible'. The Festival made her feel that she was achieving something and giving back to the community. A major goal was to advocate for improved programs for DC Latinos, as well as the children and the elderly.

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