Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
By Hannah Herrlich, Emerging Technologies Librarian
In the United States, Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15th to October 15th. This is a time to remember and honor the cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
The Month That Was Two
It might seem a bit odd that Hispanic Heritage month starts in the middle of September and ends in the middle of October. This is because initial efforts to recognize Hispanic heritage came about in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, who approved a Hispanic Heritage week to be honored every September 15th. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan extended this week to a month, which has been celebrated every year since.
The timeframe of Hispanic Heritage month is significant because it coincides with the national independence days of several Latin American countries: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica celebrate theirs on September 15th; followed by Mexico on September 16th; Chile on September 18th; and Belize on September 21st.
A Little History Lesson
Not only do these Latin American countries share similar dates for their independence days, but they also declared their independence from the same European nation: Spain.
During the 1400s-1500s, Spanish explorers embarked on journeys across the Atlantic Ocean with quests to discover the “new world,” or what would be referred to today as the Americas. Of course, the land was already inhabited by indigenous peoples, who inescapably lived under harsh Spanish colonization for centuries to come. Fast forward to 1810, when the Mexican War of Independence began and inspired neighboring colonies also to declare their independence as sovereign states. This culminated in the Act of Independence of Central America, in which the five aforementioned countries broke away from Spanish rule on September 15th, 1821.
In the United States today, the Hispanic population accounts for nearly 19% of the population –that is 62.5 million people. It is important to learn and understand this history since it is not only Hispanic history, but American and world history as well.
Resources for Hispanic Heritage Research
A great way to celebrate is by consciously seeking information about Hispanic American contributions to our life in the United States in every scholarly activity you engage with throughout the month. That might seem daunting, but the library has many resources that might help you in this endeavor.
- HAPI (Online) The Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) is your source for more than 275,000 journal article citations about Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, and Hispanics/Latinos in the United States.
- Hispanic Life in America Today – 2010 to Today From Readex/Newsbank. Comprehensive coverage of the Hispanic American experience, as it was written. This primary source collection offers an expansive window into Hispanic American history, culture, and daily life.
- Handbook of Latin American Studies A bibliography on Latin America consisting of works selected and annotated by scholars.
- Oxford Language Dictionaries Online Learn Spanish! Oxford’s bilingual foreign language dictionaries. Includes usage examples, grammar information, and pronunciation guidance.
- Informe Académico (Gale One File) Provides access to Spanish- and Portuguese-language scholarly journals and magazines.
- World Scholar: Latin America and the Caribbean Portal From Gale Multi-language documents provide information on contemporary and historical maps, culture & more for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
More Hispanic Heritage at Fordham
Finally, for content all year long, follow these Fordham groups on social media:
If you would like to discover more resources pertaining to Hispanic Heritage, and beyond, do not hesitate to contact your university librarians at any time. We are here to help!