Top 10 Most Significant Hispanic Contributions to the United States
What are the most important Hispanic contributions to the United States?
According to this research, the Hispanic population in the United States has increased greatly during the last few decades, and they have not only become part of the population in the country but also have worked hard to be seen and noticed.
Hispanics not only contribute to the economy, but also have contributed to history, politics, medicine, zoology, entertainment, sports, gastronomy, and social aspects.
But what are the most important Hispanic contributions to the world and the US? Let’s learn about 10 of the most important Hispanic contributions to America and how they have changed the world with them.
10 Significant Hispanic Contributions To the United States
Hispanic contributions to medicine and science are usually the first thing that comes to our minds when talking about this hardworking group of people, but in reality, the Hispanic community in the United States is involved in more than that.
Let’s learn about the most famous Hispanic contributions to this country and the authors of such important feats and their Hispanic influence in the United States.
1. Dolores Huerta (1930- )
Born in 1930, Dolores Huerta is a Mexican American woman who lived in a community of farmworkers with her mother and two brothers in California. There she worked as an elementary school teacher, but then followed a path in civil rights activism.
In 1960 she co-founded the Agricultural Workers Association and then the National Farm Workers Association in 1962. She began to stand out because of her support and leadership in strikes for workers’ rights.
On one of the strikes, San Francisco police beat her up during a peaceful protest, hurting her really badly. After that experience, she began to focus on women’s rights, and even to this day, she still advocates for that.
She runs the Dolores Huerta Foundation, and has received several awards, like the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. She has been a key piece to open the path for other Hispanic human and women’s rights advocates.
2. Rita Moreno (1931- )
Let’s talk about this powerhouse of a woman.
Born in 1931 in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Rita Moreno began her career at 13 years old on Broadway, when she landed a role in Skydrift. She later appeared in several films, TV, and theatre shows, and she is an active actress, even when she is almost 90 years old.
Rita Moreno is the first Hispanic woman to have won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress—making her part of a really selected group of four Hispanic people that have ever won an Oscar—for her role as Anita in West Side Story.
She has also won an Emmy, a Grammy, and a Tony Award, making her the third person to ever get the four most important prizes for entertaining media.
She was also presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of Arts, a Lifetime Artistic Achievement honor and the Peabody Career Achievement Award. The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actresses (HOLA) renamed her award after her, to honor the excellence in the work of other Latino women.
She has not only paved the way for other Hispanic women to achieve their dreams in this field but has also used her platform to talk about Hispanic and women’s rights.
3. Julia Alvarez (1950- )
Born in New York City in 1950, Julia Alvarez is a Dominican-American journalist, poet, novelist, and essayist that has exerted her Hispanic influence in the United States and Latin America.
While she was born in New York City, her family moved to the Dominican Republic when she was a baby, and stayed there until they had to flee the island because her father was involved in a failed political rebellion. This experience marked her so much that it has become part of her work.
Julia Alvarez has a way with words, and she has been enchanting us since the early 1990s, with poems, novels, essays, children’s books, and adolescent fiction. You read her and you will absolutely immerse in her words and the worlds she built with them.
Alvarez is one of the most critically and commercially acclaimed and successful Hispanic writers of all time, and she has greatly influenced Latin American and Hispanic literature.
4. Sylvia Rivera (1951- 2002)
Born in 1951 in New York City, with Puerto Rico and Venezuelan descent, Sylvia Rivera was going to grow up to be one of the most influential Hispanic American drag queens of all time.
Enduring a hard childhood—an absent father and losing her mother at a young age—Sylvia was raised by her Venezuelan grandmother, who strongly disagree with her inclinations towards the exploration of her transgender identity, which forced Rivera to flee her home at the tender age of 10 years.
She grew up in the stress of New York, enduring the hardships that compelled her to begin her transgender and gay rights activism.
Sylvia worked as a sex worker before finding her path on LGBTQ+ rights and equality movement, where she worked alongside transgender icon Marsha P. Johnson and formed the Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which help to support and house LGBTQ+ youth and sex workers in the island of Manhattan.
Thanks to her work and care of the LGBTQ+ community, Rivera is included as one of the 50 activists in the Stonewall National Monument, and she works hard for those next generations of Hispanic LGBTQ+ so they can have safe spaces to grow.
5. Sonia Sotomayor (1954- )
Born in 1954 in the Bronx, Sonia Sotomayor knew from a young age—10 years old to be exact—that she was going to grow up to be an attorney.
Sotomayor’s mother made her education a priority in her household, especially after her husband passed away when Sonia was 9, and her efforts weren’t in vain.
Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian from her high school and earned a full scholarship to attend Princeton University, where she graduated in 1976, after which she worked hard to ensure Princeton began to hire Hispanic faculty. Later she attended Yale Law School, graduating in 1979 and presenting her bar exam a year later.
She worked as an assistant district attorney in New York, which led her to be later nominated to the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H. W. Bush, and later to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by President Bill Clinton.
In 2009 she was picked by President Barack Obama to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court, making her the first Hispanic Woman to serve there.
Sonia Sotomayor is an inspiration for all those new generations of Hispanic Americans who want to leave a positive mark in their country, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and advocate for rights and justice for those without a voice and she is one of the greatest Hispanic influences in the United States.
6. Julian Castro (1974-)
Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1974 Julian, and his twin brother Joaquín were born in a Mexican descent household.
His mother was a Chicana political activist, and he credits their inspiration for public-serving as politicians.
Castro graduated from Stanford Law School in 1996 and was able to intern in the Whitehouse during the Clinton administration.
He was elected to the San Antonio City council in 2001, and in 2009 he became mayor of that city, being reelected in 2011 and 2013.
He resigned his position as mayor of San Antonio to become the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, a position offered to him by President Barack Obama.
Julian Castro is an example of dedication and hard work and is the product of those that came before him to open a path for more Hispanic American contributions and opportunities, just as he is doing with his career right now.
7. Fernando Tatis (1975- )
Fernando Tatis was born in the Dominican Republic in 1975.
He is known as el niño (the boy) and is one of the most outstanding Major League Baseball players of all time.
He began to play at 17 years old with the Texas Rangers, and since then, he has played with the St. Louis Cardinals, Montreal Expos, Baltimore Orioles, and the New York Mets. He has the major league record for runs batted in, and he is the only baseball player that was able to hit two grand slams in one inning during a game.
Just as Tatis was surely inspired by Roberto Clemente, he is an inspiration for all those young Hispanic athletes that want to make a name for themselves in sports.
8. Eva Longoria (1975- )
Now, Eva Longoria is a name that you might have read on movie credits several times, but her work goes beyond the big screen!
She has a master’s degree in Chicano Studies and has been involved in human rights advocacy and nonprofit works since several years ago. Her foundation, the Eva Longoria Foundation, supports Hispanic and Latina entrepreneurs by giving them micro-loans for their business, it also funds STEM extracurricular activities and mentorship for Hispanic students, making this foundation a great Hispanic contribution to the STEM field, and raises awareness on Hispanic education.
Eva Longoria not only has made a path for those Hispanic rising movie stars, but also for women all around the United States that are interested in business, STEM, and education, helping a lot of women get out of poverty and difficult situations.
9. Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980- )
Have you had the opportunity to watch the greatly successful musicals Hamilton or In the Heights? They took the world by a storm a few years ago, and their popularity has only increased in time, especially during the pandemic.
The success behind these two works is no other than Lin-Manuel Miranda, the son of a Puerto Rican couple who immigrated to New York and settled in Washington Heights. His mother is a clinical psychologist and his father is a Democratic Party consultant and immigrant advocate.
He grew up listening and watching musicals, and he wrote his first in 1999 during his sophomore year at Wesleyan University. 9 years later, he would win his first Tony Award for it and it would become one of the best Hispanic representations in Broadway to this date.
In 2015 his musical Hamilton opened on Broadway, a retelling of Alexander Hamilton’s life and the United States independence and what followed it. This fast-paced, hip-hop musical gave voice to people of color, who were cast to represent the historical figures.
Miranda has worked with different companies for Original Soundtracks for movies and has won several more awards for his work, but one of the most important things he has achieved is the representation and voice he gives to the Hispanic and POC communities thanks to his work.
10. Ryan García
We have seen an extensive list of Hispanic figures that have worked their way to the places they are today. And I would like to end this blog post with one rising Hispanic figure that is taking advantage of the effort of those before him.
This young man is Ryan García, born in 1998, he began to practice boxing when he was 7 years old and turned professional at 17. His boxing record is impressive, to say the least: He has had 21 fights, had won all 21, and 18 of those were won by TKO (technical knockout).
He likes to incorporate his Mexican heritage in his boxing persona, and just like every Hispanic before him, he is an inspiring figure for new generations to look up to in the future.
Learn Spanish and Leave Your Mark on the World
Did you know that according to a study conducted by The Economist, a person can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 extra just by knowing a foreign language alone? That means that you can make some sweet extra money by just learning Spanish!
There is a great possibility you may know some Hispanics in your life. And it makes sense, especially when there are approximately 53 million people who speak Spanish in the United States, making it the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. According to CNN, there are 41 million native Spanish speakers in the US who speak Spanish in their homes.
That means that during your whole life and career, there is a great possibility you may encounter Hispanics and Hispanic descendants that are working hard to make a difference and change the world, and you can be part of this change too by learning Spanish and broadening the channels of communication.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up today for a free 1-to-1 class with a certified native Spanish-speaking teacher at Homeschool Spanish Academy. Check out our programs and take a peek at our affordable prices and begin this new adventure with us!
Want to learn more about Latin American culture? Check out our latest posts!
- A Traveler’s Guide to the Islands of the Caribbean
- The Best 6 Books by Pablo Neruda
- The Guarani Aquifer: South America’s Most Important Source of Fresh Water
- The Andes: Traveler’s Guide to the Mountain Range in South America
- 20 Fun and Interesting Facts About Ecuador
- Colombia’s Liquid Rainbow: Cano Cristales the “River of Five Colors”
- 10 Colonial Cities in Mexico You Should Visit on Your Next Trip
- Fiesta de Las Velas: A Colorful Oaxaca Tradition
- A Vocabulary Guide To Scrapbooking in Spanish - November 20, 2021
- A Traveler’s Guide to the Islands of the Caribbean - November 20, 2021
- Kid’s Guide to the Wonders of the World - November 19, 2021