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Walter Burrell interview, 2021-08-29

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc036_06.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: 2021-08-29


Biographical / Historical

In 1971, when he was 16 years old, Burrell immigrated from Peru to Washington, D.C. He joined his brothers and sister who were living on Lamont St. in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. Burrell studied English and worked for the Youth Pride Program cleaning trash from city parks. Shortly after, he returned to Peru, worked in Brazil for several years, and eventually returned to the United States when his immigration residency papers came through. He studied at American University and had an internship at the OAS. Eventually he worked for several nonprofits and businesses, including the Hispanic Community Center in Takoma Park, the Close-Up Foundation, and for the Washington Sanitary Suburban Agency. Burrell met his future wife, Marta Burrell, at one of the Festival events in 1990. They have been married for 30 years and have 4 children.


From the Collection: 855 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Audio of interview with Walter Burrell. In 1988-1989 a friend suggested Mr. Burrell work as a volunteer for the Festival, and he joined as a Vice-President for the team that won elections in 1988. He helped organize the Parade, helped with marketing, and planned logistics and visual aspects of the Parade. As part of the Organizing Committee, he attended many events hosted by the various national groups who spent the entire year fundraising to secure funds to pay for the floats and dance groups that would participate in the annual Parade of Nations. Burrell met his future wife, Marta Burrell, at one of these fundraising events. While he respects the long traditions of the Latino Festival in Adams Morgan, he believes that Latinos should be proud to showcase their culture, dances, and food at a 'bigger stage' – Washington Monument grounds and Constitution Avenue.

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