“Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America…The day of September 15 is significant because it is 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.”
This month Gleeson Library will be celebrating Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month with a display near the main gates showcasing a selection of books by renowned Hispanic/Latinx authors! The ones selected are only a few of the many we carry here at Gleeson Library. We’ve highlighted three authors at the display, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Pablo Neruda, and Gabriel García Marquéz. These authors have books on display as well, and many more on the shelves. There are some questions you may ask yourself, so we have answered some for you:
When was Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month created?
Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month actually started off as Hispanic Heritage week. In September of 1968, then President, Lyndon B. Johnson announced that National Hispanic Heritage Week was to be celebrated during the week containing September 15th and 16th. However, it was in 1989, under President Ronald Reagan, when he extended the observed holiday to a full month, until October 15th. The purpose of Hispanic/Latinx Heritage month is to celebrate “the culture and traditions of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, and the Spanish Speaking nations of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean” (Census.gov).
Why does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month start on the 15th?
The dates of September 15th and 16th were first chosen because they coincide with the day of independence of various countries in Latin America. The 15th lands on the anniversary of independence for Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. Mexico celebrates their independence on the 16th, and Chile on the 18th.
Why should we celebrate it here in the U.S.?
We celebrate it here in the United States because it is estimated that 55.6 million Hispanic/Latinx people reside in the U.S., making them the largest racial/ethnic minority. This comes to about 17.6% of the total population. Therefore that also means that our country is a mix of different cultures and traditions, and we can embrace and celebrate them, even if they might not necessarily be ours.
What does Hispanic/Latinx mean?
Although these two words may be used interchangeably, there are some slight differences in their definitions.
Hispanic can mean that they are from a Spanish-speaking country, such as Mexico, Spain, Guatemala, and Colombia. Because of this definition, Brazil is not considered a Hispanic country, as their native language is Portuguese. However, according to Pew Research Center, in the 1980, 18% of Brazilian immigrants considered themselves Hispanic, which shows that it really all depends on what label one feels most comfortable with using.
Latinx is a term more commonly used today, as the Spanish speaking country is very gendered, the usual endings for the word are Latino and Latina. But with modern times, not everyone identifies with a certain gender, and we find that Latinx is a good umbrella term to be inclusive to everyone. Latinx by definition is used to refer to people from Latin America, regardless of what language they speak. Therefore this definition includes Brazil, but excludes Portugal and Spain.
We hope these answers have enlightened you a little more on why we celebrate this holiday and why we have made the display, along with what books we chose. Feel free to stop by and take a closer look at the display! Here is a list of books to definitely check out when you can!
- The poetical works of Federico García Lorca, PQ6613.A763 A17 1988
- Federico García Lorca : impossible theater : five plays and thirteen poems, PQ6613.A763 A6 2000
- Cien años de soledad, Gabriel García Márquez, PQ8180.17.A73 C5 2007
- Gabriel García Márquez : new readings, PQ8180.17.A73 Z674 1987
- Borderlands : the new mestiza = La frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa, PS3551.N95 B6 1987
- Light in the dark = Luz en lo oscuro : rewriting identity, spirituality, reality, Gloria Anzaldúa, PS3551.N95 Z46 2015
- The Oxford handbook of Latino studies, Ilan Stavans, E184.S75
- The Norton anthology of Latino literature, Ilan Stavans, PS508.H57 N65 2011
- A long petal of the sea : a novel, Isabel Allende. PQ8098.1.L54 L3613 2020
- In the midst of winter : a novel, Isabel Allende, PQ8098.1.L54 M3713 2017
- Debating race, ethnicity, and Latino identity, Jorge J.E. Gracia, E184.S75 D42 2015
- Latino immigrant parents of English language learner students, school involvement and the participation breach, José Vicente González, LD4881.S16588 G6593
- Pedro Páramo, Juan Rulfo, PQ7297.R89 P413 2002
- El gallo de oro : y otros textos para cine, Juan Rulfo, PN1993.5.S7 R8 1982
- Cortázar : cuentos completos, Julio Cortázar, PQ7797.C7145 A15 1994
- Autonauts of the cosmoroute : a timeless voyage from Paris to Marseilles, Julio Cortázar, PQ7797.C7145 A8913 2007
- Save twilight / selected poems by Julio Cortázar, PQ7797.C7145 S313 1997
- Chicana ways : conversations with ten Chicana writers, Karin Rosa Ikas, PS153.M4 C455 2002
- The Oxford encyclopedia of Latina and Latino literature, Louis G. Mendoza, PS153.H56 O94 2020
- Undocumented Latino youth : navigating their worlds, Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, E184.S75 C53 2015
- The poems of Octavio Paz, PQ7297.P285 A2 2012
- Selected poems of Octavio Paz, PQ7297.P285 A17 1963
- The poetry of Pablo Neruda, PQ8097.N4 A23 2003