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Hispanic Heritage Month Essay, Research Paper

Hispanic Heritage Month

When Europeans first came to the Americas more than five hundred years ago, there were

60 to 75 million indigenous peoples already inhabiting what we now call Latin America. Most of

these Native Americans that were already here came from Asia around forty thousand years ago.

They crossed the Bering Straight and fanned out through North, Central, and South America.

The dispersion of their geography led to many distinct languages, cultures and

civilizations. Two major Empires arose in South America. The Incas ruled the Central Andean

Highlands, and the Chibcha controlled what we now know as Columbia. In Mexico and Central

America, the Mayan and Aztec empires created civilizations whose majestic ruins still stand today

as grand achievements.

Besides the impact of European migration to the Americas, the cultural imprint of the

native people is evident in Latin America today. Millions of the indigenous people of America

trace their roots to the intermarriage of Indians and whites that made the mestizo and a unique

culture. In language, religion, and architecture, Latin America may often bring forth our

European Ancestry. There are many very obvious ways that our indigenous heritage influences

our art, food, music, and our soul.

For years, historians have studied the reason why there was a sudden mass migration from

Europe to the Americas. Europeans called it the discovery of a New World . The native

Americans viewed it as a disastrous invasion. No matter how you look at it, millions of

Portuguese, Spaniard and Italian headed for the Americas. When the clash of cultures came

between the indigenous people and their African slaves, it produced what we now call Latin


Hispanic Heritage Month translates to speed up time for cultural centers across the nation.

Art exhibits, live performances, and other special events are packed into a single month between

September 15 and October 15. Though at some institutions the attitude has been to reveal

Spanish culture all year long.

Many people feel it is an ongoing task during the entire year to provide a center where

Latinos, Latin Americans, and Hispanics, all of the Spanish-speaking community, to see their

cultural reflection. It should be a memory bank so those cultural roots are not forgotten.

Institutions have become cultural meccas where their community members can celebrate and,

hopefully, learn about their Hispanic heritage. Some locations that contribute to this are: El

Museo del Barrio, Guadeloupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio, and Plaza De La Raza

Cultural Center in East Los Angeles.

With a mission to collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret, and promote the artistic heritage of

Latin Americans in the U.S., El Museo has made its place as an evolved neighborhood institution

to a basic component of New York City cultural life. It holds as many as 8,000 objects making it

the largest Hispanic cultural organization of the Northeast. El Museo was housed at many

different locations until moving to its present day location in 1977.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of Hispanic arts, music, films, food, and culture

that will continue through October and into early November. Placido Domingo, an opera singer

and artistic director of the Washington Metropolitan Opera, will be a part of the festivities when

he finishes the celebration with his keynote speech, “How Placido Domingo Became Placido

Domingo,” during closing ceremonies in the Concert Hall in November.

Other scheduled events include showings of the films Selena and The Flower of My

Secret. The performance of Amor America by the Luna theater group in Harris Theater, a concert

by singer Julio Iglesias at the Patriot Center, a performance by the Miami City Ballet in the

Concert Hall, and a performance of Poets of Our Land by the Gala theater group in Harris

Theater all take place during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the culture, traditions, and diversity of Hispanic

people. This year’s theme displays the arts as a means of celebration to get to one’s soul, she


National Hispanic Heritage Month, which gives Hispanics an occasion to attend to their

roots and others a chance to learn about the culture, begins September 15. It continues through

Oct. 15.

In Corpus Christi and the surrounding area, events are planned throughout the month.

Godines said The month is important, especially in a time when television has taken over family

time and people with busy lives often don’t have time to carry on traditions as simple as cooking.

Negative stereotypes of Hispanics don’t come from the Hispanic culture, but from a

culture of poverty. And while poverty stretches across all ethnic groups, the poverty rate is higher

among Hispanics than among non-Hispanic whites. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the

1995 Hispanic poverty rate was 30.3 percent. The rate for non-Hispanic whites was 8.5 percent.

Leo Carrillo, dean of foreign students at A&M-Corpus Christi, said poverty and negative media

portrayals have demoralized many Hispanics. Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportunity

for the good to overshadow the stereotypes, he said.

From as for north as Oregon to Tierra del Fuego, the Spanish and Portuguese lift their

mark on two continents. The English, French, Germans, and other Europeans also colonized and

influenced cultures throughout the north, central, and south Americas. More than 500 years later,

over 400 million people throughout the continents speak Spanish or Portuguese. Many of them

can trace their roots to European migrations.

Raising money for these events comes from many different sponsors all over Latin

America and from people who have a strong interest in Hispanic Culture and feel the need to

donate for a cause they are a part of. Another main reason why these events and traditions are

important is to educate and inform students of a part of their culture and family background. It

is truly a time of multiculturalism. And for Hispanic cultural centers ,it s truly a time of pride.

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