Nearly 50 Years of Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Audrey Carroll
September 29, 2021

The annual observation of National Hispanic Heritage Month began this year on September 15 and continues until October 15. In September 1968, President Johnson signed the National Hispanic Heritage Week bill into law. The following year, Representative Esteban E. Torres of California proposed extending Hispanic Heritage week to a month, saying supporters of the bill “want the public to know that we share a legacy with the rest of the country, a legacy that includes artists, writers, Olympic champions, and leaders in business, government, cinema, and science.” Unfortunately, Torres’s bill died in committee, but 20 years later in 1988, Senator Paul Simon of Illinois succeeded in passing a similar bill lengthening Hispanic Heritage Week to Hispanic Heritage Month. President Reagan signed the bill into law in August 1988.

The start date of September 15 coincides with Independence Day celebrations in many Hispanic countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their Independence Days in September.

Hispanic and Latinx individuals and communities have made a substantial impact on politics, pop culture, art, music, and more in our country. Hispanic Heritage Month serves as a time to honor and celebrate achievements and contributions made by Hispanic Americans in the U.S.

Check out the Calendar of Events from the Library of Congress to learn more and find out how you can celebrate this month.