Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month!

Saturday, October 8th – Kayla Thompson, Adult Services

September 15th through October 15th marks this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration! According to the National Hispanic Heritage website, this observation of the cultures, histories, and contributions of people from places ranging from Spain to Mexico to Central and South America and even the Caribbean started in 1968 with Lyndon Johnson and was expanded in 1988 by Ronald Reagan and was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

So why the 15th of September? It may seem kind of odd to start a month-long celebration in the middle of the month, but this date has special significance. September 15th is the anniversary of independence for the following Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,  Honduras, and Nicaragua. And September 16th and 18th mark the anniversary of independence for Mexico and Chile. This makes the 15th a prime time to begin celebrating!

Influential Hispanic/Latinx American Figures Across Time
Rita Moreno (Actress, First Hispanic Woman to Win an Academy Award)
Cesar Chavez (Latin American Civil Rights Activist)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (House of Representatives)
Roberto Clemente (Major League Baseball Player)
Julia Alvarez (Author)
Jennifer Lopez (Actress, Singer)
Sylvia Rivera (Drag Queen)
Ellen Ochoa (Astronaut, First Hispanic American Woman in Space)
Sonia Sotomayor (Supreme Court, First Hispanic American to Serve)
Lin Manuel Miranda (Broadway – Writer, Singer, Songwriter, Actor)
Dolores Huerta (Latin American Civil Rights Activist)
Julian Castro (Politics)
Gloria Estefan (Singer)
Jovita Idar (Newspaper La Crónica, Fought against Racism)
Richie (Valenzuela) Valens (Singer)
Gwen Ifill (Journalist)
Emma Gonzalez (Young Advocated for Gun Law Reform)
Guy Gabaldon (Marine)
Eva Longoria (Executive Producer, Director)
José Andrés (Culinary Innovator, Chef)
Richard Cavazos (First Hispanic person to become a Four-Star General in the US Army)
Ilena Ros-Lehtinen (House of Representatives, Senate – First Hispanic Woman to do both)
Carolina Herrera (Fashion)
Ruben Salazar (One of the First Mexican American Journalists in Mainstream Media)
Sylvia Mendez (1946 won case to go to an “all-white” school)
Gabriela Mistral (Writer, First Hispanic Person to win a Nobel Prize in Literature)


And this is just a small percentage of the numerous people of Hispanic/Latin American heritage that have contributed to society, to our country, to our history, and to our future. I encourage all of you readers to go out and search for yourself! There is so much out there to learn and reflect on. And though it’s important to have these big-name people of influence to look upon and learn from, there are people in our own community doing important things, contributing to the growth of our area, and being influential. So let’s make sure to celebrate them too!

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, people of Hispanic/Latino origin make up about 3.1% of Cape Girardeau’s population. Though this number might seem small, it is important to recognize the different cultures within our communities and the impact they have. Visit the library and check out some of our books and displays!

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzales
A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande
Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez
Trust by Hernan Diaz
Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
Infinite Country by Patricia Engel
The Rock Eaters: Stories by Brenda Peynado
What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster
Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Eat the Mouth that Feeds You by Carribean Fragoza
A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria
The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova
Afterlife by Julia Alvarez
The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
My Broken Language: A Memoir by Quiara Alegria Hudes
The Soul of a Woman by Isabel Allende
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
Ordinary Girls: a Memoir by Jaquira Diaz
El Norte by Carrie Gibson
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
AOC: The Fearless Rise and Powerful Resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez by Lynda Lopez
The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States by Suzzanne Oboler
Hermosa by Yesika Salgado
American Chica by Maria Arana
App Kid by Michael Sayman
Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood by Danny Trejo
Becoming Maria by Sonia Manzano



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