Map of South Carolina

South Carolina notable latinos

Farragut, Jorge (1755-1817). Captain Jorge Farragut participated in the battle of Savannah during the U.S. Revolutionary War. Farragut, who was born on the Spanish island of Minorca, is among the Latino Revolutionary War heroes.

Gonzales, Ambrosio Jose (1818-1893). Spaniard Ambrosio Gonzales was made a colonel in the Confederate army and helped defend the South Carolina coast during the Civil War. Gonzales relocated to South Carolina from Cuba in 1854 and married into the prominent Elliott family.

Gonzales, Ambrose Elliott (1857-1926) andNarciso Gener Gonzales (1859-1903).

Ambrose Gonzales and his brother N.G. Gonzales, sons of the Spanish General Ambrosio Jose Gonzales and Harriet Rutledge Elliott Gonzales, founded South Carolina’s largest newspaper, the State, in 1891. Ambrose acted as the newspaper’s publisher, and as business manager, president, treasurer, and general manager of the State Company until his death in 1926. N.G. served in the Cuban forces during the Spanish-American War. He was assassinated in 1903 by Lieutenant Governor James H. Tillman, who was angry about N.G.’s ongoing editorial attacks against him. Tillman was acquitted.

Gaetan, Manuel (1937-). Puerto Rican-born Manuel Manny Gaetan is among the founders of the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council and a strong advocate for Latinos in South Carolina. Gaetan, who moved from Puerto Rico to the United States permanently in 1962 and to South Carolina in 1970, is president and CEO of MGR Enterprises, a management consulting firm in Columbia, South Carolina. Trained as an industrial engineer, Gaetan devoted many years to the apparel industry and has received several national and international awards for consulting and service.

Santana, Irma G. (1947-). Community activist Irma G. Santana founded South Carolina’s first outreach organization for Latinos, Acercamiento Hispano de Carolina del Sur, in 1995. Born and raised in El Salvador, Santana migrated to the United States in 1967, then relocated to South Carolina in 1983. In addition, to her work with Acercamiento Hispano, Santana cofounded the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council and the Coalition for New South Carolinians, both of which work to meet the needs of Latinos in the state. Santana has been recognized both locally and nationally for her work with the Latino community.

Rodriguez-Arpan, Luz (1949-). Luz Rodriguez-Arpan, a native of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, is the founder and president of Hispanic Connections Inc., a multiservice company in Columbia, South Carolina, that connects organizations and companies to the Latino community. Rodriguez-Arpan’s company published the first Hispanic Business Directory in the state and helps produce the annual Cinco de Mayo festival. Rodriguez-Arpan is also one of the founding members of the South Carolina Hispanic Leadership Council.

Filemon, Juya V. (1955-). Rev. Filemon, a native of Colombia, is the vicar for Hispanic ministry in the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina. Father Filemon moved to South Carolina in 1995 after many years of serving migrants in Canada. Much of his work in South Carolina is with Latino migrant farm workers, but his service to the Latino community in general is widely recognized.

Haskins, Gloria Arias (1956-). State Representative Gloria Haskins, a native of Colombia, is the first Latina to serve as an elected state official. Haskins, who represents Greenville County, first came to the house to serve out the term of her former husband, Terry E. Haskins, in late 2000. She was reelected in 2006 and has worked in various ways to support the interests of Latinos in the state.

Ruiz, Alma Puente (1960-). Alma Puente Ruiz has received state and national recognition for her service to the Latino community in South Carolina, largely as result of her active role in establishing English-language and other training for migrant women. She

arrived in South Carolina from Mexico in the 1980s to attend the University of South Carolina, then remained in the Columbia area. Alma is currently a social worker in one of the state’s school districts, and in that capacity has helped establish the state’s first Plaza Comunitaria, a learning center for Mexican high-school students and adults.

Nieves, David Chico (1962-) and Sandra Nieves (1960-). David Chico Nieves and Sandra Nieves are among the first Latino police officers in South Carolina. Both relocated to South Carolina from New York David in the 1980s and Sandra in the 1990s. David serves as president of the state chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association, and Sandra serves as secretary of that same chapter. Sandra was the catalyst for establishing the Hispanic/Latino Ad-Hoc Committee in the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs in 2000, and she and David have both served on that committee. Both have received awards for career accomplishments as well as for their service to the Latino community in the state.

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