Charlottesville area schools, like most schools in the United States, recognize September 15 to October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month. This school year, area teachers may wish to consider a slightly different twist on their presentation. Consider emphasizing “Hispanic-American” Heritage!
When describing the exclusive American population, an early Virginia poet wrote, “We have no ancestors,we ourselves are ancestors.”
It is my feeling that Americans should learn as much as possible about those who came before us, and about today’s role models, who are tomorrow’s ancestors. A few years ago, I wrote HISPANIC HERITAGE: A Salute To Latino Americans as the fourth book in a series of books designed to focus on American history makers,ancestors, and role models.
Today, Spanish-speaking Americans and immigrants are the largest single minority in the United States. Before the middle of the twenty-first century, one out of three Americans will be of Hispanic or Latino ancestry. Perhaps no other ethnic group in America is as diverse in its culture, appearance, and traditions as Latinos. Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, Dominicans, Spanish Americans, and Central and South Americans are all part of the rich mosaic we’ve come to know as Latino, or Hispanic.
Hispanic American history began before 1325 A.D. The Latino national culture predates Columbus and even European culture for, as we know, the “new” world is indeed much older than the “old” one. With such a rich and diverse influence on the continent of North America, it is indeed appropriate that we teach and celebrate Hispanic-American history!
In a thoughtful essay, explain what you think the early Virginia poet meant when he wrote: “We have no ancestors,we ourselves are ancestors.”
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See also CJ Hatcher’s National Lesson Plans column!