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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 9/17/2020

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15) honors the cultures, contributions, and history of Hispanic and Latino Americans and serves as a time to celebrate the heritage rooted in Latin American countries. 

According to the Library of Congress, this national observation “started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15.” It was then enacted into law August 17, 1988. 

Why September 15? That date marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively, and Belize celebrates its independence September 21. 

Here are some resources Texas educators can use with their students to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latin American culture every day of the year: 

  • Visit hispanicheritagemonth.gov, where the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have teamed up to pay tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. There are links to presentations, exhibits, events, and teacher-specific content.
  • The U.S. Department of Education has compiled a list of resources located through various federal government agencies at sites.ed.gov/hispanic-initiative/national-hispanic-heritage-month.
  • Want some fun facts about the nation’s Latino population to share with students? Check out this data from the Pew Research Center.
  • Similarly, the U.S. Census Bureau offers its own list of facts and figures—numbers only available thanks to the public’s participation in the U.S. Census every 10 years. (And don’t forget to fill out your census if you haven’t already!)
  • Statistics in Schools has an activity where students can compare the frequencies of Hispanic or Latino population percentages for the 50 states and District of Columbia by completing frequency tables and creating histograms that summarize and display the data. Click here for more details.
  • Texas Highways magazine compiled a list of virtual panels, live-streamed concerts, and art exhibits happening across the state. View the list here.
  • Hispanics were among the original Texans. As such, the Texas Historical Commission has compiled some travel resources, a list of historic sites, videos, and more for Texans to use to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of Hispanic and Latino culture.
And that’s just to get you started! Enjoy National Hispanic Heritage Month!