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A look at the history of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the US

It began as a weeklong celebration in 1968, starting Sept. 15, the same day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate their independence.

TEXAS, USA — Sept. 15 is the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through Oct. 15.

Hispanic Heritage Month got its start in 1968 as a weeklong celebration of "the Hispanic tradition," according to a proclamation issued by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Congress passed a law authorizing the president to issue the annual proclamation.

Twenty years later, Congress passed a new law extending it to last a month. On Sept. 14, 1989, President George H.W. Bush issued the first National Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation. Every president has issued one annually since. 

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions of Americans with roots in Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean.

It kicks off on Sept. 15, a day that marks Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence day on Sept. 16.

In the United States, the Hispanic population reached a record high in 2020 with 62.1 million, growing 23% from the previous census. 

According to the 2020 Census, the Hispanic population in Texas has grown to more than 11.4 million people, a jump from the 9.4 million reported in 2010. 

According to Census data, Latinos account for 30.2% of the total Tarrant County population and 41.4% of the Dallas County population.

The latest census stated that Hispanic Texans are almost the state's largest demographic group, with just half a percentage point separating the group from the non-Hispanic white population. 

Throughout the month, WFAA will be highlighting the accomplishments of Latinos in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and celebrating Hispanic culture. 

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