Famous Latinos and Hispanic Americans You Should Know About

Famous Latinos

As we prepare for Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m preparing a series of posts that highlight Latinx Leaders and famous Latinos or Hispanic Americans.

If you are looking for general resources and ideas on celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, be sure to check out my mega-post for teachers and parents!

Notable Hispanic Americans*

When I sat down to make these lists, I wanted the first one to refer to Hispanic-Americans or American Latinos. If you do a search for “famous Hispanic Americans,” it tends to pull up lists of famous people who speak Spanish, from anywhere around the world.

The original intent of Hispanic Heritage Month, though, was to honor U.S. Citizens of Hispanic descent (from a Spanish-speaking country).

Here’s a description of HHM from the Department of Eduation:

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place September 15 to October 15 every year as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month during President Ronald Reagan’s term in 1988.

White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, Dept. of Education

This first list, then, includes famous Latino-Americans you should know about: Latino leaders, athletes, writers, scientists, artists, and more.

Each link includes top quotes, printables, videos, and more on each person!

24 Famous Latinos From the United States

ALexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Member of Congress
Puerto-Rican American (October 13, 1989)
See her story here.

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Antonia Novello

U.S. Surgeon General
Puerto-Rican American (August 23, 1944)
See her story here.

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Celia Cruz

Singer
Cuban-American (1925 – 2003)
See her story here.

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César Chavez

Activist, labor leader
Mexican-American (1927 – 1993)
See his story here.

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Dolores Huerta

Labor Leader
Mexican-American (April 10, 1930)
See her story here.

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Ellen Ochoa

Astronaut
Mexican-American (May 10, 1958)
See her story here.

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France Córdova

Astrophysicist
Irish-Mexican-American (May 10, 1958)
See her story here.

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Gary Soto

Author, Poet
Mexican-American (April 12, 1952)
See his story here.

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Gloria Estefan

Singer
Cuban-American (September 1, 1957)
See her story here.

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Helen Rodriguez-Trías

Physician
Puerto-Rican -American (1929 – 2001)
See her story here.

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Jennifer Lopez

Actress, singer, dancer, and performer.
Puerto-Rican – American (July 24, 1969)
Read her story here.

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Joan Baez

Folk singer, songwriter, and political activist.
Mexican-Scottish-American (January 9, 1941)
Read her story here.

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Jorge Ramos

Journalist
Mexican – American (March 16, 1958)
Read his story here.

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Julia Alvarez

Author, Poet
Dominican – American (March 27, 1950)
Read her story here.

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Laurie Hernandez

Gymnast
Puerto-Rican – American (June 9, 2000)
Read her story here.

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Lin-Manuel Miranda

Actor, Composer, Writer, Producer
Puerto-Rican – American (January 16, 1980)
Read his story here.

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Mario Molina

Scientist, Chemist
Mexican – American (March 19, 1943)
Read his story here.

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Oscar De La Hoya

Boxer
Mexican-American (February 4, 1973)
See his story here.

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Oscar De La Renta

Fashion Designer
Dominican-American (July 22, 1932)
See his story here.

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Rita Moreno

Actress, Singer
Puerto-Rican-American (December 11, 1931)
See her story here.

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Roberto clemente

Baseball Player
Puerto-Rican-American (1934-1972)
See his story here.

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Sandra Cisneros

Writer, Teacher
Mexican-American (December 20, 1954)
See her story here.

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Selena Quintanilla

Singer, Designer
Mexican-American (April 16, 1971)
See her story here.

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Sonia Sotomayor

U.S. Supreme Court Judge
Puerto-Rican-American (June 25, 1954)
See her story here.

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Sylvia Mendez

Activist
Puerto-Rican-Mexican-American (June 7, 1936)
See her story here.

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Tito Puente

Percussionist, Musician
Puerto-Rican-American (1923-2000)
See his story here.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Antonia Novello
Celia Cruz
César Chávez
Dolores Huerta
Ellen Ochoa
France Cordova
Gary Soto
Gloria Estefan
Helen Rodríguez-Trías
Jennifer Lopez
Joan Baez
Jorge Ramos

Julia Alvarez
Laurie Hernandez
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Mario Molina
Oscar de la Hoya
Oscar de la Renta
Rita Moreno
Roberto Clemente
Sandra Cisneros
Selena Quintanilla
Sonia Sotomayor
Sylvia Mendez
Tito Puente 

If you are working with kids and learning about famous Latino leaders, check out this free growing pack of coloring pages!

Coloring Pages

With each post I add to this free pack of printable coloring pages!

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    Famous Hispanics from Around the World

    Many educators like to use Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate Latino contributions from all around the word. Here is a good starter list of names!

    Diego Rivera
    Gabriela Mistral
    Gael García Bernal
    Frida Kahlo
    Isabel Allende
    Lionel Messi
    Pablo Picasso
    Eva Peron
    Rigoberta Menchú
    Cantinflas
    El Santo
    Emiliano Zapata
    Pablo Neruda

    Lists of Famous Latinos by genre

    Here you can browse my posts set up by genre– famous Latino and Hispanic artists, scientists, athletes, leaders, and more.

    Famous Hispanic artists and painters

    Famous Spanish-Speaking Artists

    Read about painters and artists who made waves in both Latin America and Spain.
    Read more here.

    Afro-Latino and Afrolatinidad Resources

    Afro-Latino Music

    See a playlist featuring Afro-Latino artists and musicians who are famous and making waves in the music world.
    Read the interviews here.

    *I know many people don’t like the term “Hispanic Americans,” and I think that’s very fair. Let’s be honest: Hispanic basically means “formerly colonized by Spain,” while America can technically apply to all of the Americas.

    The terms are evolving right now, and in meantime we have to deal with less-than-perfect terminology or new terms some countries don’t use yet.

    What famous Latinos and Hispanic leaders did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!

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