Famous Latinos and Hispanic Americans You Should Know About

Famous Latinos and Hispanics

As we prepare for Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m preparing a series of posts that highlight Latinx Leaders and famous Latino 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!

Famous Hispanic Americans

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.

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 anybody famous who speaks Spanish.

The original intent of Hispanic Heritage Month, though, was to honor U.S. Citizens of Hispanic descent (from a Spanish-speaking country). The first list includes those leaders, athletes, and artists.

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
Latino Hispanic Leaders (1)

This first list, then, includes famous Latino-Americans you should know about. I am working on a post for each person that includes a brief biography, videos, quotes, and printables. I will link each post as I publish!

Famous u.S. Latinos

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Antonia Novello
Carlos Santana
Celia Cruz
César Chávez
Dolores Huerta
Ellen Ochoa
France Cordova
Gary Soto
Gloria Estefan
Helen Rodriguez-Trias
Oscar de la Hoya
Oscar de la Renta
Jennifer Lopez

Joan Baez
Jorge Ramos
Julia Alvarez
Laurie Hernandez
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Mario Molina
Rita Moreno
Roberto Clemente
Sandra Cisneros
Selena Quintanilla
Sonia Sotomayor
Sylvia Mendez
Tito Puente 

As of 2019, Hispanic and Latino Americans make up nearly one-fifth of the US population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

– Center for Educational Partnerships, Univ. of Berkeley

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 her story 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.

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