From 1968 until 1988, Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan all issued the yearly proclamations, setting aside a week to honor Hispanic Americans. In 1987 U.S. Representative Esteban E. Torres of California proposed the expanding the observance to cover its current 31-day period. Torres wanted more time so that the nation could “properly observe and coordinate events and activities to celebrate Hispanic culture and achievement.”
In 1988, Senator Paul Simon (D-Illinois), submitted a similar bill that successfully passed Congress and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 17, 1988. And on September 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush (who had been a sponsor of the original Hispanic Heritage Week resolution while serving in the House in 1968) became the first president to declare the 31-day period from September 15 to October 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“Not all of the contributions made by Hispanic Americans to our society are so visible or so widely celebrated, however. Hispanic Americans have enriched our nation beyond measure with the quiet strength of closely knit families and proud communities,” Bush said.
In the decades since, National Hispanic Heritage Month proclamations have been made by every sitting president of the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 will last from Wednesday, September 15 2021 through Friday, October 15 2021.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month, United States Census Bureau
The Creation and Evolution of the National Hispanic Heritage Celebration, United States House of Representatives
National Hispanic Heritage Month, Library of Congress
National Hispanic Heritage Month, 1989, The America Presidency Project
National Hispanic Heritage Week bill signed, Sep. 17, 1968, Politic