Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual event celebrating the culture and traditions of U.S. residents who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean, as well as the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States. The national observance began in 1968 as National Hispanic Heritage Week and Congress expanded it to a month in 1988. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Given the many countries, cultures and regions to which Hispanics trace their ancestry, it is not surprising that they use a variety of terms to identify themselves: Latino, Colombiano, Chicana, Puertoriqueño, Boricua, Xicano, Mexican American, Dominicano and many more. The U.S. Census Bureau defines Hispanics as persons of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central-American descent, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. There are approximately 44 million Hispanics in the U.S. They constitute 15% of the total population and 4% in Iowa, making them the largest ethnic or race minority in the nation and the state. The Hispanic community in Iowa is experiencing an exciting time of change as it begins historic growth in the state. The Hispanic population in 2006—nearly 115,000—represents an increase of 28% since 2000. Hispanic enrollment at the University of Iowa during the spring term in 2007 was 767.
This display highlights University of Iowa Hispanic and Latina/o students, faculty and alumni, as well as resources available in the Main Library about the Hispanic and Latina/o experience.
This exhibit features selected items from Mujeres Latinas, an Iowa Women’s Archives initiative to document the lives of Iowa Latinas, their families and the history of their communities.