In the late 1980's, an effort was started to document the
Portuguese presence in North America since the 15th century, and their participation in its making.
Then again in the early 1990's, the effort continued with limited success due the lack of published information about the history of early America.
A few interested individuals decided that broader participation was needed if we were to achieve any results. That's when the idea of an organization was born. Since organizations are easy to form but hard to maintain, much planning went into it. Finally in 1996, the Portuguese-American Historical and Research Foundation was given its Charter as a non-profit North Carolina Corporation with its headquarters in Franklin, North Carolina, amidst the Appalachian Mountains.
To Research the Early American History and the Portuguese settlements in North America as well as other groups directly or indirectly connected, who may have Portuguese ancestry. One of the Foundation's objectives is to encourage higher education, in cooperation with colleges and universities. More Portuguese-American representation is needed in the fields of politics, science, medicine, education, and others.
Our challenge, and the challenge of every parent and grandparent of a high school student of Portuguese ancestry, is to make sure that these students attend and complete college.
There is every reason to be proud of our heritage our published books prove that we played a large part in helping to make America great in the past. Let's play an even bigger part in the future.
All the documentation obtained during the research was compiled and the results put into 3 books entitled, "The Forgotten Portuguese (sold out), The Portuguese Making of America and the Portuguese version, Os Portugueses na Formação da América."
The author, Manuel Mira, donated all proceeds from the sale of these books to the PAHR Foundation. The first book was published in 1997.
This type of books are more of a reference nature, thus its circulation is somewhat limited and profits from its sale were not expected.
However, we were pleasantly surprised to find out later that the first book did sell quite well and the demand for the two subsequent ones are still here.
The publishing of the books are just one of the many activities in which the Foundation has been involved. Contacts have been made with many colleges and universities, which have requested the books and extended invitations to present our findings on early American history.
Furthermore, we began an educational process about the early Portuguese presence in North America which we now classify as the only group that has continuously inhabited this continent. We also encourage students and others to know more about America's early history than just what is published in traditional classroom text books.
The PAHR Foundation has given successful lectures in the following places:
Sociedade de Geografia in Lisboa, Portugal
Biblioteca Municipal in Vale de Cambra, Portugal
Durham and Franklin in North Carolina
The Library of Congress and PALCUS in Washington, DC
Toronto and Montreal in Canada
San Jose, California
Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford in Massachusetts
Johnson City, Tennessee
Woodbridge, Newark and Elizabeth in New Jersey
West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Orlando in Florida
Federation of Portuguese Canadian Businessmen and Professionals Association
University of Virginia, Wise Campus
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
University of Louisville, Kentucky
Wise and Harrisonburg, Virginia
We were also present in public schools whenever requested to speak about Portugal and the Portuguese.