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Michigan State University

Latino American Studies Research Guide: Background Information


Diana Rivera is responsible for reference, collection development, and liaison activities related to Latino or Chicano Americans at the Michigan State University Libraries.  She also offers a Cezar Chavez  Collection Blog where she shares informtion about new acquisitions and other news items related to Latino/a studies.

Cesar Chavez Collection

The Cesar E. Chavez Collection is an interdisciplinary browsing collection consisting of titles in a variety of formats, research levels and locations on Chicano and Boricua Studies. Chavez Collection materials in other locations require the storage, access/viewing facilities and services not available in an open shelves collection. The main part of this collection is located on the first floor, west wing lobby of the Main Libraries. This browsing collection is reinforced throughout the Libraries system by other titles in the main stacks collection and various branch collections.

Julian Samora Research Institute

The mission of the Julian Samora Research Institute is to generate, disseminate, and apply knowledge to serve the needs of Latino communities in the Midwest and across the nation.

Related Research Guides

History of the Chicano-Latino Movement

Running Ahead : the History of the Chicano-Latino Movement.  Elizabeth Guerrero and Emily Sorroche.  Michigan State University

Hispanic and Latino Americans definition from Wikipedia

Hispanic and Latino American definition from wikipedia :

Hispanic and Latino Americans (Spanish: Latino-estadounidenses) refers to an ethnolinguistic group[5] of citizens of the United States with origins in the countries of Latin America or the Iberian peninsula. More generally it includes all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12] Reflecting especially the Latin American population, which has origins in all the continents and many ancestries,[13] Hispanic/Latino Americans are very racially diverse, and as a result form an ethnic category, rather than a race.[11][14][15][16] While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, Hispanic is a narrower term which only refers to persons of Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry, while Latino is more frequently used to refer more generally to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry, including Brazilians.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26] Hispanic thus includes persons from Spain and Spanish-speaking Latin Americans excluding Brazilians (who speak Portuguese) while Latino excludes persons from Spain but includes both Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Latin Americans. Because Brazil's population of 191,000,000[27] is several times larger than Spain's population of 47,000,000[28] and also because there are more Brazilian Americans (between 360,000[29] and 1,100,000[30][31] as of 2010) than Spanish Americans (about 85,000 as of 2010)[32] in the United States, Latino is a broader term encompassing more people. The choice between the terms Latino and Hispanic among those of Spanish-speaking origin is also associated with location: persons of Spanish-speaking origins residing in the eastern United States tend to prefer the term Hispanic, whereas those in the west tend to prefer Latino.[10]

Hispanics or Latinos constitute 16.7% of the total United States population, or 52 million people[2], making it home to the largest community of Spanish speakers outside of Mexico according to the Pew Research Hispanic Center. Surpassing Argentina, Colombia, and Spain within the last decade.[33] Latinos overall are the second largest ethnic group, after non-Hispanic White Americans (a group composed of dozens of sub-groups, as is Hispanic and Latino Americans).[34] Hispanic and Latino Americans are the largest of all the minority groups, but Black Americans are the largest minority among the races, after White Americans in general (non-Hispanic and Hispanic).[35] Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, Colombian Americans, Dominican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish Americans, and Salvadoran Americans are some of the Hispanic and Latino American national origin groups.[36]

There have been people of Hispanic or Latino heritage in the territory of the present-day United States continuously[37][38][39][40] since the 1565 founding of St. Augustine, Florida, by the Spanish, the longest among European American ethnic groups and second-longest of all U.S. ethnic groups, after Native Americans. Hispanics have also lived continuously in the Southwest since near the end of the 16th century, with settlements in New Mexico that began in 1598, and which were transferred to the area of El Paso, Texas, in 1680.[41] Spanish settlement of New Mexico resumed in 1692, and new ones were established in Arizona and California in the 18th century.[42][43] The Hispanic presence can even be said to date from half a century earlier than St. Augustine, if San Juan, Puerto Rico is considered to be the oldest Spanish settlement, and the oldest city, in the U.S.[44]

Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.


Miscellaneous Facts

Facts about Hispanic Heritage, Culture and History

Did you know...?

As America’s largest growing ethnic group, about 60 percent of people of Hispanic descent have type O blood compared to 45 percent of Caucasians and 50 percent of African Americans. Type O is the blood hospitals need most.

With 329 million native speakers, Spanish ranks as the world's No. 2 language in terms of how many people speak it as their first language. It is slightly ahead of English (328 million) but behind Chinese (1.2 billion).

The term Hispanic was first adopted by the United States government in the early 1970s, and has since been used in local and federal employment, mass media, academia, and  business market research. It has been used in the U.S. Census since 1980. Because of the popularity of "Latino" in the western portion of the United States, the government  adopted this term as well in 1997, and used it in the 2000 census.

There are 1.1 million Hispanic veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

The term “Hispanic” originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, more commonly known as Portugal and Spain, and the people colonized by those two countries.

According to the 2010 Census, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the growth  in United States population between 2000 and 2010.  The U.S. is the fifth largest Hispanic country in the world. The majority of the U.S. population is Mexican American, followed in size by Central and South Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cuban Americans.

Spaniards are believed to be the longest continuously established population in Europe.

Hispanics are not a monolithic group.  In reality, some Hispanic subgroups have remarkably   few characteristics in common.  Various subgroups reflect great differences in ethnicity, culture, origin and can cover the racial spectrum, from white, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American. Hispanics are a mix of European, African and Native American people.

The Chicano movement was a civil rights movement that started by looking for the restoration of land grants.  The movement expanded to encompass Mexican farm worker’s rights, enhanced education, voting rights and political rights.

Compared with non-Hispanics, cancer rates among Hispanics are lower overall and lower for the major sites -- lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal.

The Hispanic family is a close-knit group and the most important social unit.  The  family unit usually extends beyond the nuclear family.

Hispanics usually place great value on appearance as a sense of honor, dignity and pride.

Religion plays a significant role in day-to-day life.  More than 90 percent of the Spanish-speaking world is Roman Catholic.

St. Augustine, Florida, and Sante Fe, New Mexico were Hispanic cities founded before Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Seventy percent of the Hispanic population lives in five states: California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed February 2, 1848, ended the Mexican-American War. The United States agreed to pay Mexico $15 million. This agreement also included a territorial settlement in which the United States annexed the northern portion of Mexico, resulting in what is today Texas, New Mexico and California.

The terms Hispanic and Latino tend to be used interchangeably in the United States for people with origins in Spanish-speaking or Portuguese-speaking countries, like  Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil. Contrary to many beliefs, Hispanic is not a race,but an ethnicity.

From 1998 to 1999 to 2008 to 2009, the number of associate's degrees earned by Hispanics more than doubled (increasing by 101 percent) During the same time period, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded Hispanic students increased by 85 percent.

Subject Guide

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100 Questions

100 Questions and Answers about Hispanics and Latinos.  Joe Grimm and MSU School of Journalism.  2014.  One Hundred Questions and Answers About Hispanics and Latinos" is part of the Michigan State University School of Journalism series in cultural competence. It focuses on the diversity of the largest ethnic group in the United States. This guide has sections on Hispanic and Latino identity, geography, language, religion, social norms, politics, immigration and deportation, education, work, money, families, culture, health and food. It explains terms such as Chicano, Tejano and Texano, Boricua and deals with deportation and immigration. The guide is intended for people in business, schools, places of worship, government, medicine, law enforcement, human resources and journalism-anywhere it is important to know more about communities. We hope this guide works for individuals who just have questions about the people around them. We began by asking Hispanics and Latinos about myths, misconceptions and biases that they run into and wish others knew more about. Questions include: What are the definitions of Hispanic and Latino? * How did Hispanic and Latino become official terms? * Are there U.S. regional or state preferences for Hispanic or Latino? * So people can be one and not the other? * What does "Latina" mean? * What do "Chicano" and "Chicana" mean? * What is the definition of Chican@? * What does Tejano mean? * What does Boricua mean? * What race are Latinos and Hispanics? * How many Hispanic people live in the United States? * What are their places of origin? * Which states have the largest Hispanic populations? * Is Puerto Rico a country, colony or commonwealth? * Why is Puerto Rico a territory and not a state or a country? * Do people living in Puerto Rico vote in U.S. elections? * Do Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico pay U.S. taxes? * What is Hispaniola? * How prevalent is bilingualism? * What is Spanglish? * What is the English-only movement? * Are Hispanics more religious than other Americans? * Are U.S. Hispanics mostly Catholic? * Is Pope Francis the first Latin American pope? * Are Latinos generally more emotional or expressive than other Americans? * Are Latinos traditionally modest about their accomplishments? * How do Hispanics align politically? * What are top political concerns for Hispanics today? * How much weight does the Hispanic vote carry in U.S elections? * What is turnout like among Hispanics voters? * Are Hispanics represented proportionately in government? * Who are some nationally prominent Hispanic politicians? * What draws Latinos to the United States? * What are the "waves" of Latino immigration to the United States? * Are most Latinos in the United States today immigrants? * Do most Latino immigrants come to the United States legally? * What is the "DREAM Act?" * What is DACA? * What is the "Drop the I-Word" campaign? * What is a green card? * What are the difference between permanent residency and citizenship? * What are remittances? * Are Latinos profiled? * What is the average educational level of Hispanics? * Do Hispanics come to the United States for schooling? * Which colleges or universities are more welcoming to Hispanics? This guide is published with John Hile of David Crumm Media, which publishes the Read the Spirit website.

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