National Hispanic Heritage Month
EBy Jet Hall
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage
Month (September 15 to October 15) by celebrating the
cultures and contributions of American citizens who came
from — or whose ancestors came from — Spain, Mexico, the
Caribbean and Central and South America.
our country through their strong commitment to family, faith,
hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our
multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968,
begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of inde-
vador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile
and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this
period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.
The term Hispanic or Latino, refers to Puerto Rican, South
or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless
of race. On the 2010 Census form, people of Spanish,
Hispanic and/or Latino origin could identify themselves as
Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban,
or “another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.”
Today, 57.5 million people or 18% of the American population
are of Hispanic or Latino origin. This represents a
population at 35.3 million or 13% of the total U.S. population.
Share in this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating
the generations of Hispanic and Latino Americans
White House Proclamation:
National Hispanic Heritage Month
“We honor Hispanics for enriching the fabric of America,
even as we recognize and rededicate ourselves to addressing
the challenges to equality and opportunity that many Hispanics
still face,” says the National Hispanic Heritage Month
2010 presidential proclamation. President Obama also proclaimed
National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week. Each
year, the president welcomes distinguished Hispanic leaders,
educators and artists to the White House.
A Brief History of the Freedom Tower in Miami
Nestled along downtown’s busy Biscayne Boulevard, the
Freedom Tower stands as an iconic symbol of the Cuban population
in Miami. The tower is now home to a modern-day
contemporary arts museum, but its rich history is forever
stamped in the hearts of many Miamians who can relate to
the Latin American migration to the city.
The Freedom Tower was built in 1925, designed in a Mediterranean
Revival style with a decorative cupola inspired by
— Photo by Ed Webster/Flickr
The Freedom Tower is an iconic symbol of the Cuban population
in Miami. Today it is home to the MDC Museum of
Art and Design.
the popular style in Seville, Spain. The building was used as
the headquarters of local newspaper, The Miami News, before
it moved to another site. It was not until the 1960s that
make use of the building.
Once Cuban leader Fidel Castro took power of the island
in 1959, Cuban business owners and the society’s middle-class,
who had much to lose with a communist government, began
grants being much to bear, the U.S. government decided to
use the tower as a facility to process and document the new
residents, as well as provide medical services to those in need.
The once sleepy beach town of Miami with a mainly
white American and black population would quickly become
a buzzing multicultural city. About 500,000 Cubans migrated
during the 1960s and 1980s, arriving by airplanes, boats, and
those unlucky few in self-made rafts.
dom Tower in an area known today as Little Havana along
“Calle Ocho,” or, Eighth Street. But as the Cuban population
grew, they relocated sporadically throughout the city, and
brought forth a wave of change in the cultural dynamics.
Spanish became a popular spoken language, used in busi-
to the city in search of better opportunities.
By 1972, the federal government stopped using the Freedom
Tower as a migration facility and sold it to private buyers.
Since then, the Freedom Tower ownership has changed
several times. It has housed museums, libraries, meeting
halls, and was even used as a space to observe the death of
legendary Cuban singer Celia Cruz in 2003.
In 2005, the building was donated to Miami Dade College,
and today it is home to the MDC Museum of Art and
Design. The Freedom Tower is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.
813.682.9364 EXPO EDITION 2019 • 9