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Explore Hispanic Heritage

National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated every year from September 15 through October 15. As defined by the Law Library of Congress, this month "celebrates and recognizes the contributions Hispanic Americans have made to American society and culture and to honor five of our Central American neighbors who celebrate their independence in September." For legislation, Presidential Proclamations, and Executive Orders pertaining to this commemoration, visit the Law Library of Congress' National Hispanic Heritage Month: A Commemorative Observances Legal Research Guide.

While we honor the intent of Hispanic Heritage Month, the SJR State Library also understands, as Stef Bernal-Martinez explained in Teaching Tolerance, that "we must also do the important work of understanding how and why the distinct histories of a multinational, multicultural and multilingual group of communities were consolidated into Hispanic heritage in the first place... Understanding the history behind these shifting identifications—and particularly the history of the word Hispanic—can help us better understand the challenges this term has created." The Library will strive to foster this understanding through its curation of resources and features. 

Online Resources   "This Web portal is a collaborative project of the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and U.S. National Archives and Records Administration."

Latino History at the National Museum of American History  Exhibitions, collections, and resources

The Hispanic Reading Room   This Library of Congress site "is the primary access point for research related to the Caribbean, Latin America, Spain and Portugal; the indigenous cultures of those areas; and peoples throughout the world historically influenced by Luso-Hispanic heritage, including Latinos in the U.S. and peoples of Portuguese or Spanish heritage in Africa, Asia, and Oceania." 

The PALABRA Archive at the Library of Congress  The PALABRA Archive is a collection of original audio recordings of 20th and 21st century Luso-Hispanic poets and writers reading from their works. With recorded authors from all over Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, the Caribbean, and other regions with Hispanic and Portuguese heritage populations, this archive has to date close to 800 recordings.

About Hispanic Origin   An explanation from the U.S Census Bureau of the term "Hispanic or Latino" that is used by the agency as an ethnicity designation for data collection purposes.

Latino and Hispanic identities aren’t the same. They’re also not racial groups.   A resource recommended by Teaching Tolerance to help understand race and ethnicity specifically regarding the term Hispanic and Latinx. 

Latino Civil Rights Timeline, 1903 to 2006

Mendez, Hernandez & Beyond: A Conversation on Latinx Civil Rights, a panel of experts and public figures discuss civil rights cases -- such as Mendez v. Westminister and Hernandez v. Texas and Latinx Civil Rights in the United States: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress 

Latino History and Culture in Parks

Now Streaming: Walkout

Walkout"This HBO Films production details the stirring true story of a group of Mexican American students who staged a compelling 1968 walkout to protest the injustices of the public high-school system in East L.A. Alexa Vega stars as an idealistic honors student whose desire to fight the system's blatant discrimination leads her to coordinate a multi-school walkout of students." - HBO


1 hour, 50 minutes

Current SJR State students and employees can stream this film free on the Swank platform.

"Moctesuma Esparza, producer: “Walkout” is one of the very few films that documents the Chicano civil rights movement, which was pivotal in the advancement of rights for Latinos in the United States. I chose to be a filmmaker in pursuit of social justice and I had been seeking to get this movie made for more than 20 years until I finally got HBO to step up. To this day there are almost no American Latino movie stars who can [get executives to] greenlight a Hollywood theatrical movie. I had seen Michael Peña in “Crash.” He had a small role but gave such powerful performance that I argued with HBO that he should embody the role of Sal Castro, a Chicano teacher. I pushed for Alexa PenaVega, who had been the star in “Spy Kids,” and who was very committed to our movie. HBO said they still needed a little bit more star power, so I went to Edward James Olmos and asked him if he would direct. That’s how the movie finally came to be." - The American Latino Experience: 20 Essential Films Since 2000

Latinas Talk Latinas

Latinas Talk Latinas

The Latinas Talk Latinas series introduces you to the lives of 10 Latinas, as told by curators, scientists, and educators across the Smithsonian. Join them as they explore stories of labor organizing, fashion, music, science exploration, performance, and art that have shaped the United States.

Online Exhibit: National Museum of American History


¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues

"Baseball is the national pastime. But it’s also an American export, one with a tradition that’s constantly evolving. ¡Pleibol! shares the experiences of Latinas and Latinos whose love for the game and incredible talent have changed baseball and transformed American culture forever." Visit this online exhibit from the National Museum of American History!

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