From mid-September to mid-October, people celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by studying the impact Hispanics have had throughout history. Whether male or female, whether in sports, politics, the arts, or entertainment, Hispanics have had a strong impact on events, legislation, and culture. Here is a list of five male Hispanics who have greatly influenced the U.S. and the world:
- César Chávez – Chávez was an activist for labor rights. He fought for equal wages and decent working conditions and terms for agricultural workers in the Southwest United States. He co-founded the National Farm Workers Association and was able to unionize Latino and Asian farm workers. As he led protests and boycotts, Chávez coined the phrase “Sí se puede,” or “Yes, we can.”
- José Martí – A national hero in Cuba, Martí is best known for being a poet, a journalist, and a writer who was a political activist advocating for independence from Spain in the mid 1800s. Martí has been called the “Apostle of Cuban Independence.” The famous song “Guantanamera” was an adaptation of one Martí’s poems.
- Roberto Clemente – Clemente played baseball for eighteen seasons, most notably with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He reached several milestones, including 3,000 hits and twelve straight Gold Glove awards. Clemente was known for more than his baseball talents, however. He served as a U.S. Marine for six years. He also went on several humanitarian missions to bring supplies and food to victims of natural disasters or those who lived in impoverished areas around the world. Sadly, Clemente died in a plane crash while bringing supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua in 1972. He posthumously received the Presidential Citizens Medal of Honor and Congressional Medal of Honor, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Desi Arnaz – Arnaz was best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo on the television sitcom I Love Lucy in the 1950s. He made conga music popular in the United States with his band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra. In addition, Arnaz was a well-known producer who was the first to film in front of a live studio audience and record his shows rather than broadcast them live, thus leading to reruns and copies that could be shown on several different TV networks. Arnaz also used multiple cameras during filming so that a scene could be shot at different angles continuously.
- Diego Rivera – Rivera was a famous Mexican artist who painted murals in the early 1900s during the Mexican Revolution. Rivera’s artwork and the messages in his paintings helped to fuel the movement. Most of his murals were seen as social and political statements that were very controversial, but one of his most famous murals, “The History of Mexico,” depicts patriotism and nationalism while portraying the Mexican people’s struggles throughout the country’s history. Rivera is also well known for his marriage to Frida Kahlo, another famous Mexican artist.
Although there are many other famous Hispanics, the legacy these five have left behind has lasted for years and will continue to influence others in the future.