Plaza Famila|September 15, 2012 2:21 am

5 Inspiring Latinos in Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month officially starts today. Originally, it was only a week that began with President Lyndon B. Johnson. But in 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded it to last a whole month from September 15th through October 15th. During this month, we all recognize the numerous contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans to the United States and celebrate the diversity of cultures associated with them.

If your family is looking for ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, why not learn about some of the contributions they have made to our world? Here is a list of Latinos who have left their mark on the history of the United States…

General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín
General Zaragoza is most famously known as the brave man who led the small army (of around 2,000 men and women) in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862. Despite their small number, they successfully drove back the French forces, which were considered to be the best army in the world at the time. Napoleon III (not Napoleon Bonaparte!) was the emperor of France and was planning to quickly conquer Mexico, and then use the country as a base for supplying the U.S. Confederate rebels with supplies and weapons to help them win the U.S. Civil War that was taking place at the same time. Napoleon III saw this as an opportunity to establish a French empire in the Americas, but his plans were thwarted by the men and women under General Zaragoza’s command.

Carlos Juan Finlay
Finlay was the Cuban physician who discovered that mosquitos were the cause of Yellow Fever. Even though he couldn’t prove it, and was belittled by other scientists, as a result of his discovery and the work of another doctor (Walter Reed), a vaccine was eventually created saving the lives of millions of people, including Americans.

Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta
The Mexican American Union Leaders who created the United Farm Workers of America, a group dedicated to improving the working conditions for migrant workers. Thanks to their efforts, many farmers have stopped using many harmful chemicals on their produce, pay reasonable wages, and implemented safe working procedures, among other things. The organization promotes the core values of Integrity, Innovation, Non-Violence, Empowerment, and a Si Se Puede® Attitude.

Roberto Clemente
The Puerto Rican baseball legend who transcended his reputation as a professional athlete to humanitarian and philanthropist. He is remembered for his efforts towards the recognition of his fellow Latino baseball players and for helping people in need across the United States and Central America. Clemente also held free baseball clinics for children in his homeland and created programs to help disadvantaged youth develop athletic skills and prevent illegal drug use. Clemente died in a plane crash while attempting to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

 

Creative commons-licensed photo provided by  cliff1066™.

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