How Have Hispanic Americans Helped Shape the U.S.?
Brain Steph Lauryn Boban here. Here in the United States, it's Hispanic heritage month, which officially began as Hispanic Heritage Week in nineteen, sixty eight. Unlike many other campaigns that observe and honor the contributions of a particular group of Americans Hispanic heritage bump run throughout. September. But rather starts on September fifteenth and continues through mid. October. So, why does it start in the middle of the month? Well, a Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras. Nicaragua. All celebrate their Independence Day on September fifteenth. Mexico's is on September Sixteenth Chili's is September eighteenth and believes independence. Day Is September twenty first. By, stretching into October, the holiday also includes de la Raza on October twelve, which is a kind of rejection of Columbus Day because of Christopher, Columbus's many crimes against humanity and see our episode on Columbus Day for more about that. De la Rosa instead celebrates the melding of Hispanic races or Raza, and cultures. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, let's talk about three times at Hispanic Americans have changed the course of history. Some three hundred years after Spanish, conquerors became the first non native Americans to view the Mississippi River and later the Grand Canyon one host. Jeff Marianne Hernandez helps smooth transfer of the territory of Florida into US rule Florida was still part of Spain when Hernandez was born in Saint Augustine in seventeen eighty four. But that changed when he was selected to serve in the House of Representatives and was sworn into duty in eighteen, twenty three as the first Hispanic person to serve in. Congress. In historical context Hernandez being a slave owner is a controversial figure. Still. He remains the first one, hundred twenty eight Hispanic people to serve in the. US Congress. Maybe of more relevance today is the first Hispanic senator elected to a full term in Congress. New Mexico's Dennis Shabas in nineteen thirty five. We spoke with Paul Orbits Historian at the University of Florida. He said in addition to being the first American born Hispanic senator. He's critical for the time we live in because he fought on behalf of all working class. Equally, he fought for higher wages legislation he fought for people to have the right to organize a union he fought for more progress and you as foreign policy for Latin America he organized N. Double ACP leaders against Jim Crow Segregation. Then, a Chevette as one of those people we can use Hispanic heritage month to talk about our connection other people's democratic struggles. Today's Congress. The one hundred sixteenth has forty seven members of Hispanic heritage. Hispanic Americans also helped turn the tide of the civil war. Some twenty thousand were involved in the conflict. While some in the southeast sided with the confederacy especially those who came from wealthy families with plantations or other businesses in Louisiana Alabama more supported the union. or it said a lot of Mexican American soldiers fought on the side of the Union army in the southwest and actually helped defeat the confederacy in the southwest. Hispanic people in the West back the Mexican government to and celebrated the country's defeat of the French at the battle of Puebla on May fifth of sixty two single Demayo in a victory that may have helped prevent the French from siding with the confederacy and thus ultimately helping the Union win. A bit more modern only about eight years before the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown versus the Board of Education, that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional as Spanish schoolgirl showed the way. Sylvia Mendez a Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage was just eight years old when she and her brothers were denied enrollment into the white only Westminster School district in Orange County in nineteen, forty three. At the time about eighty percent of California, school districts were segregated. Her Parents Gonzalo. Felicitas Mendez enlisted other parents to fight the decision and they took the school board to court. After appeals that were abandoned short of the US Supreme Court Mendez Versus Westminster became the first successful federal school desegregation case in the nation that was in nineteen, forty seven. The case was important arguing that segregation itself even if schools were separate but equal was harmful unconstitutional under the fourteenth amendment specifically, the clause, the calls for protection of the laws for all citizens. In appeals Sylvia's case was argued by Thurgood Marshall who went on to argue for the