In 1968, Public Law 90-498 was enacted, and later amended by Public Law 100-402, to establish September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month, with the proviso that “the people of the United States, especially the educational community, … observe such week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
According to Fact Monster, Sept. 15 was chosen as the kick-off date for celebrations because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexicodeclared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.
The term Hispanic, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Spanish-speaking people in the United States of any race. On the 2000 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." More than 35 million people identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino on the 2000 Census. Hispanic Heritage Month, http://www.factmonster.com/spot/hhm1.html.
Patrons at the LRC will have an easy time engaging in “appropriate activites” during Hispanic Heritage Month. Start in the Popular Law section at PS3570.R23 T73 2001 with the light novel “The Roll Call Vote” by San Diego author Richard Trackler, concerning a Republican president’s nomination of the first Hispanic to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then move to the Reserve Room for the latest issues of law reviews with a Hispanic focus. The Berkely La Raza Law Journal Fall 2005 issue addresses social change in America’s cities; the Spring 2005 issue of UCLA’s Chicano-Latino Law Review commemorates the 50th anniversary of Hernandez v. Texas; and the Spring 2006 issue of the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy includes An Overview of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy Since 9/11.
In the Reading Room, patrons will find Steven W. Bender, Greasers and Gringos: Latinos, Law, and the American Imagination/KF4757.5.L38 B46 2003, dealing with the stereotypes that plague Hispanic Americans. Hector P. García: In Relentless Pursuit of Justice by Ignacio M. García tells the story of a decorated WWII veteran who encountered discrimination and segregation upon his return from the war, and who founded the American G.I. Forum to create a safe space for Mexican American participation in the political process. Other recommended reading includes Gilbert G. Gonzalez & Raul A. Fernandez, A Century of Chicano History: Empire, Nations, and Migration/E184.M5 G645 2003 and David Montejano, ed., Chicano Politics and Society in the Late Twentieth Century/E184.M5 C447 1999.