It is that time of year again when we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th. There are so many amazing Hispanic Americans to recognize whose contributions have had such a lasting influence on our history and culture in the United States. You might be wondering why the start is the middle of the month, and there is a simple answer to that. September 15th is the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
The library has many biographies that feature a wide array of Hispanic Americans, and one of the best ways to celebrate their lives and impact is to read about their stories.
Our website also offers online resources at the top of the page! From the "Online Resources" tab, you can navigate to "Reference and Research" and access the Gale in Context: Biography database for extensive information regarding the lives of influential figures.
Here are a few amazing people that I have researched about that I think you will find fascinating as well:
Mario Molina (1943-2020) a Mexican chemist and Nobel Prize winner was the first to realize that chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) could destroy ozone. Over the next two decades, he became a voice alerting the world after his discovery. Many did not believe his findings, but when it was confirmed, he went on to earn the Nobel Prize.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, ceramicist, and theatre designer who was a child prodigy and spent much of his adult life in France. His art changed the face of modern art as we know it. His contributions to Western culture are immense. It is estimated that he produced 50,000 artworks during his lifetime. There are many books on his accomplishments and life in our catalog.
Eva Longoria is an actress who was born to Mexican-American parents in Corpus Christi, TX, the same area as the late singer Selena. Eva made her debut in daytime soap operas including General Hospital and The Young and the Restless. She went on to be a part of the evening comedy-drama Desperate Housewives. Now she is the spokesperson for Padres Contra El Cancer. She also founded Eva’s Heroes, a charity that helps young adults with developmental disabilities. The organization is in San Antonio, Texas, and was inspired by her sister, who has intellectual disabilities.
Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American poet, short story writer, novelist, and essayist born in 1954 in Chicago. She was the only daughter of a family of 7 children. Her parents met in Chicago, but both were from Mexico. They traveled frequently between Chicago and Mexico to visit relatives and often settled in new places when they returned. This made Sandra many times feel displaced and homeless, and her writing draws heavily upon these childhood experiences and her ethnic heritage. She has received countless awards including the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016.
Carlos Santana also known as Carlos Humberto Santana Barragan was born in 1947 in Mexico where he learned to play guitar and violin at a young age. He is a musician guitarist whose band Santana is known for its mix of rock, jazz, blues and Afro-Cuban rhythms with a Latin sound. A cool fact you may not know is Santana’s second love is literature. He is an avid reader and has a section on his official website that features his reading list called “On Carlos’ Bookshelf”.
Carolina Herrera (born Maria Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Nino) is a Hispanic designer born and raised in Venezuela. She was introduced into the world of fashion by her socialite grandmother, who took her to shows and bought her outfits at Dior and Lanvin. Herrera’s career started in 1965 as a publicist, but she then went on to work at Pucci’s Caracas boutique and moved to New York in 1980. She debuted her first fashion collection in 1981 at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Club. She has won countless awards including the 2014 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion, and she has been on the cover of Vogue 7 times. She is known for her dramatic style and for dressing various First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, Michell Obama, and Melania Trump. Herrera started her first boutique in New York in 2000 and has since founded over 18 boutiques around the world. Her presence in the fashion industry has been influential indeed!
Don't forget to check out our Gale in Context: Biography on Online Resources at the top of the page and learn about even more Hispanic Americans who have left their mark and continue to inspire today!