In 1968, Congressman George E. Brown of California introduced the idea of a Hispanic Heritage week. The civil rights movement of the 1960s gave Americans a lot to consider in regard to race, ethnicities, gender and sexuality, poverty, and pervasive, systemic issues within the country. The Chicano movement made Americans realize the importance of the Hispanic populations' contributions to American life, and also brought real, genuine existence to the culture to the eyes of their countrymen, on a large scale.
in September of 1968, Congress passed a law authorizing and requesting that the sitting President issue an annual proclamation designating the week of September 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Week. Twenty years later, Congress amended the law to dedicate an entire month to Hispanic Heritage; President George H.W. Bush issued the first month-wide proclamation in 1989.
Now, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in America every year from September 15 to October 15. The dates' significance is that of the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica (September 15), and the independence days of Mexico (16) and Chile (18). The month is spent observing and celebrating the cultures, histories, and contributions of Hispanic Americans (The history of Hispanic heritage month, 2020).
Images from the Indiana Historical Society
This research guide will use the term "Hispanic" throughout, with the reason being that this is the official name of the cultural heritage month used by the United States Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of State, the National Parks Service, the National Museum of the American Latino, the National Archives, and the United States Presidential Proclamations for the celebration each year. That being said, the UC Libraries acknowledge that many people may not identify with the term "Hispanic," and that there are times when other terminology is more appropriate. Language is always evolving, and being conscious of how others self-identify is an important part of the human condition.
Image from: VivaLatinAmerica Tumblr
Who is Hispanic? - Pew Research Center
Here are a few helpful definitions:
What's wrong with the "x?"
Hispanic and Latino/a/x communities possess a great deal of intersectionality - meaning that what may seem to be an individual's dominant language, race, or ethnicity may not be. When having trouble figuring out how to refer to or address someone, just try using their name! And if you feel comfortable asking, make sure to do so in a respectful manner.
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities: was established in 1986 and "...represents more than 500 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and U.S. school districts. Although our member institutions in the U.S. represent only 17% of all higher education institutions nationwide, together they are home to two-thirds of all Hispanic college students. HACU is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)."
Puerto Rican Studies
Ballet folklorico couple [Photograph]. (1960). Indiana Historical Society. https://images.indianahistory.org/digital/collection/p16797coll38/id/435/rec/46
Consuelo "Connie" Figueroa with friend [Photograph]. (1940). Indiana Historical Society. https://images.indianahistory.org/digital/collection/p16797coll38/id/420/rec/96
Four children in garden [Photograph]. (1959). Indiana Historical Society. https://images.indianahistory.org/digital/collection/p16797coll38/id/41/rec/159
Hispanic & Latinx by the numbers [Image]. (n.d.). National Institutes of Health, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. https://www.edi.nih.gov/people/sep/hispanics/campaign/hispanic-heritage-month-2021
The history of Hispanic heritage month. (2020, October 13). Cisneros Hispanic Leadership, Institute Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. https://cisneros.columbian.gwu.edu/history-hispanic-heritage-month
Krogstad, J. M., Passel, J. S., & Noe-Bustamante, L. (2022, September 23). Key facts about U.S. Latinos for national Hispanic heritage month. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/09/23/key-facts-about-u-s-latinos-for-national-hispanic-heritage-month/
Noe-Bustamante, L., Mora, L., & Lopez, M. H. (2020, August 11). About one-in-four U.S. Hispanics have heard of Latinx, but just 3% use it. Pew Research Center. https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2020/08/11/about-one-in-four-u-s-hispanics-have-heard-of-latinx-but-just-3-use-it/
Ramirez, L. L., & Blay, Z. (2016, June 5). Why people are using the term 'Latinx'. Huff Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-people-are-using-the-term-latinx_n_57753328e4b0cc0fa136a159
Three men with cherry buckets [Photograph]. (1954). Indiana Historical Society. https://images.indianahistory.org/digital/collection/p16797coll38/id/42/rec/36
[Venn diagram of the differences and intersections of Latino and Hispanic countries]. (n.d.). Viva Latin America Tumblr. https://66.media.tumblr.com/6dda12755759dbbf6d874de129aed807/tumblr_pczrmehMdQ1u5wnaho1_r1_1280.jpg