From September 15 to October 15 each year, the Copyright Alliance proudly celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month! This month is a celebration of the history and culture of citizens whose roots lie in Mexico, Central and South America, The Caribbean, and Spain.
History of Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month was first observed in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, following a proposal for its introduction by Californian Congressman George E. Brown. Brown, who represented a district in the Los Angeles area, emphasized the need for the celebration and recognition of the Latinx* community in the wake of the civil rights movement, as there was a growing understanding of multicultural communities in the United States.
A variety of days during this month represent significant moments in Latinx history. September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Additionally, Mexico celebrates its Independence Day on September 16, Chile on September 18, and Belize on September 21.
Following a declaration from President Johnson, the subsequent three Presidents recognized the week of September 15 as Hispanic Heritage Week. Then, in 1987, Californian Representative Esteban Torres proposed an expansion of the week to a full month. This expansion was officially adopted under the sponsorship of Senator Paul Simon and President Ronald Reagan via Public Law 100-402, which expanded Hispanic Heritage Week from the week of September 15 to a full month spanning until October 15. President George H.W. Bush then became the first president to declare Hispanic Heritage Month on September 14, 1989.
*The Copyright Alliance acknowledges the complicated linguistic and intersectional conversations surrounding the use of Latinx. We have opted to use this form to encompass our values and remain inclusive of those outside the gender binary. We remain committed to learning and adapting as language and viewpoints evolve.
Museums to Visit during Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Society Museum & Library, located on 155th Street in New York City, focuses on the culture and arts of Spain, the Philippines, Latin America, and Portugal. This Museum and Library displays over 900 paintings and 6,000 watercolors and drawings. Additionally, it holds over 170,000 photographs, 15,000 prints, and 300,000 books—and that isn’t even their entire collection!
The National Museum of Mexican Art, located in Chicago, Illinois, is “the only Latino Museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.” It also holds one of the largest Mexican art collections in the U.S., which consists of 11,000 pieces from ancient Mexico to the present. Not only does the museum display impeccable artwork created by the Latinx community, but it also hosts a number of cultural programs ranging from dance performances and symposiums to featuring authors and musical works.
National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC), located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is “dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and advancement of Hispanic culture, arts, and humanities.” Since opening its doors in 2000, NHCC has accumulated over 3,000 permanent pieces of artwork. The museum is home to three theaters, a library, an art museum, and so much more. Additionally, NHCC holds two to three exhibitions each year, some of which can be viewed virtually.
El Museo del Barrio, located on Fifth Avenue in New York City, is a cultural institution that exhibits exclusively Latinx, Caribbean, and Latin American art. It opened its doors in the 1970s as it displayed its first exhibition titled “The Art Heritage of Puerto Rico.” As of August 2022, it has been reported that El Museo del Barrio has collected over 8,000 diverse and permanent show pieces. This has allowed them to divide their collections into four different essential categories: Modern and Contemporary Art, Graphics, Taíno/Pre-Columbian, and Popular Traditions.
Blogs and Articles
- Mexican Muralism—The Origins and Revolution of Street Art (Copyright Alliance)
- Latinx Heritage Month: A Community Worth Celebrating (Copyright Alliance)
- Pushing Boundaries: Hispanic and Latin American Creators Who Redefine Success (USCO)
- The Latin Recording Academy® announces its 2023 Special Awards recipients (Latin Recording Academy)
- How Broadway Is Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month (Playbill)
- ¡Vamos a Celebrar! Celebrating Hispanic Heritage through the arts (The Kennedy Center)
- PBS SHORT DOCS “Alejandro Jimenez: The Ground I Stand On” (PBS)
- The History of Hispanic Heritage Month (History)
- Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month (National Archives)
- The National Parks Celebrate Latin X History Month (National Parks Service)
- Smithsonian Begins Construction on Museum of The American Latino (Smithsonian)
Latinx Creator Resources
- Resources for Latinx Writers (The Authors Guild)
- IATSE Latinx Caucus (IATSE)
- Diversity Committees (SAG AFTRA)
- MPA América Latina (MPA)
- Latino Committee (DGA)
- The Latinx Project (NYU)
- The NALAC Fund for the Arts: Artist & Organization Grants (NALAC)
Latinx Anti-Racism Resources
The Copyright Alliance also assembled additional creative and educational resources in support of the BIPOC community on our main BIPOC page.
- Being Brown: Sonia Sotomayor and the Latino question by Lázaro Lima
- The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
- American like me: reflections on life between cultures edited by America Ferrera with E. Cayce Dumont
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- Don’t ask me where I’m from by Jennifer De Leon
- Racial Identity and Racial Treatment of Mexican Americans
- What’s the difference between Hispanic, Latino and Latinx?
- Why Understanding Colorism Within the Latino Community Is So important
- Hispanic History Milestones: Timeline
- Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art
- Latinx Racial Equality Project
- The Hispanic Institute
- The Latino Victory fund
- Vote Latino
- Latino Public Broadcasting
Creators Highlighted During Hispanic Heritage Month
Listed below are several Latinx creators spanning multiple countries who have contributed across a variety of mediums. Working on everything from film to fine art, these creators are each significant contributors to Latin-American culture.
- Roberto Aguirre Sacasaa – Nicaraguan American TV and play writer who created Riverdale
- Juan Gabriel – Mexican singer, songwriter, actor, and pop-icon
- Bad Bunny – Puerto Rican pop singer and rapper
- Eliza Gonzales – Mexican film and television actor
- Julio Torres – Salvadoran American comedian and writer who created HBO’s Los
- Rosalia – Spanish singer, rapper, and music producer
- Benicio Del Toro – Puerto Rican Academy Award winning actor for Traffic
- Germaine Franco – Mexican American film composer and Academy Award winner for Encanto
- Chavela Vargas – Costa Rican/Mexican singer
- Julia Alvarez – Dominican poet
- Alfonso Cuaron – Mexican Academy Award winning filmmaker known for Roma, Gravity, and Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban
- Diego Rivera – Mexican mural painter and fine artist
- Danny Trejo – Mexican American film and TV actor
- Arca – Venezuelan electronic music producer and musician
- Clemencia Lucena – Columbian fine artist, writer, and art critic
- Joan Baez – Singer, songwriter, and activist
- The Maria’s – Puerto Rican American indie pop band
- Colman Domingo – Guatemalan/Belizean American film and TV actor
- Gael Garcia Bernal – Mexican film and TV actor
- Sandra Cisneros – Author (The House on Mango Street), poet, performer, and activist
- Pablo Neruda – Chilean poet and diplomat
- Salma Hayek – Mexican American Academy Award-nominated actor
- Maria Cornejo – Chilean fashion designer