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Hispanic Heritage Month 2016

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dad Luis Talk Latino Heritage Through Generations

One Heritage, Two Generations: Luis and Lin-Manuel Miranda 4:40

Playwright, composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" has transformed Broadway and the American theater scene. But there's a reason why the quintessentially American story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton resonated with the young New York playwright.

"When I realized he came from the Caribbean I said 'I know this guy — he's you, he's the taxistas (taxi drivers) that became congresspeople, he's a version of the story we know," said Lin-Manuel to his father, Luis.

Lin-Manuel's dad Luis left Puerto Rico for New York City at age 19, later serving as Director of Hispanic Affairs under Mayor Ed Koch before holding other leadership positions in the public and private sector.

The Mirandas chose to raise Lin-Manuel and his sister in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of New York City's Washington Heights, the inspiration behind Lin-Manuel's breakthrough musical, "In the Heights." It was the closest they came to giving the kids the feeling of a close-knit Puerto Rican town, said the dad.

"History determines which way the future will go," said the elder Miranda. "Without that history, one lives as if one were on quicksand, in a world that has no context."

As part of our "One Heritage, Two Generations" series, Lin-Manuel talks about growing up as a U.S. Latino — including explaining to non-Hispanic friends why he got a "second Christmas" on Three Kings Day.

Additional video by NBC's Jennifer Weiss, Geraldine Cols Azocar and Brian Latimer.

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