National Hispanic Heritage Month was created by Congress in 1968 to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans to American society and culture. It was also created in order to honor many Central and South American country’s independence from Spain. In 1968 Congress passed Public Law 90-498 that authorized and requested the President to issue an annual proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as “National Hispanic Heritage Week.” The September 15th and 16th dates are very historically significant throughout Latin America and Mexico.
In September of 1968, the first proclamation addressing the week, by Lyndon B. Johnson stated, “Wishing to pay special tribute to the Hispanic tradition, and having in mind the fact that our five Central American neighbors celebrate their Independence Day on the fifteenth of September and the Republic of Mexico on the sixteenth, the Congress by House Joint Resolution 1299, has requested the President to issue annually a proclamation designating the week including September 15 and 16 as National Hispanic Heritage Week.”
Over the next 20 years, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan issued a series of annual proclamations designated the week in September as National Hispanic Heritage Week. And in 1988 Congress passed another Public Law (100-402) and established the first Hispanic Heritage Month. On September 14th, 1989, George H.W. Bush proclaimed the “31-day period” of September 15 to October 15 would become Hispanic Heritage Month. Since then, every year, every U.S. President has made a similar proclamation.
To see events for Hispanic Heritage Month see Calendario Social - “chicago’s Largest Free Event Calendar”.