Celebrate with Us!
Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)
In 1968 Hispanic Heritage Week was enacted by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1988, Hispanic Heritage Week celebration was expanded by President Ronald Reagan to National Hispanic Heritage Month, starting September 15th and ending October 15th. September was selected because a number of countries became independent nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of the cultures associated with Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. At UNL, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with our annual Fiesta on the Green, featuring dance, music and food from the Americas.
Native American Heritage Month (November)
An early supporter of celebrating Native American culture was Dr. Arthur Parker, a Seneca from New York. Dr. Parker worked with the Boy Scouts of America to establish the first date celebrating Native American culture: “First Americans”. This day was celebrated for three years. In 1916, the governor of New York designated the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day. Several states followed New York’s lead naming the second Saturday in May as American Indian Day. Several states also named the fourth Friday in September. In the Bicentennial year of 1976, the week of October 10-16 was designated as Native American Awareness Week. In 1990 President George W.H. Bush designated the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Black History Month (February)
Black History Month was officially recognized by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976, the year of our nation’s Bicentennial. However, the origins of Black History month started 50 years earlier, in 1926, with Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the historian and founder of the association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Dr. Woodson wanted to ensure the contributions of Black Americans were acknowledged by the greater society. Dr Woodson selected the month of February because of its association with the birthdays of two famous and influential Americans, President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. At UNL, we honor the accomplishments of African Americans through the legacy of UNL’s first African American graduate, Aaron Douglas. Mr. Douglas graduated in 1922 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. Mr. Douglas then on to be an influential visual artist of the Harlem Renaissance and became the chair of the Arts Department at Fisk University.
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
In May of 1979 the first Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was celebrated. In May, 1992 the Asian Pacific American Heritage Week was expanded to a month long celebration by President George Bush and is now called Asian Pacific Heritage Month. The month of May was selected because of two significant events: the first immigrants from Japan arrived in May of 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad in May 1869, built with the assistance of Chinese immigrants. At UNL, we strive to celebrate the diversity of Asian Culture. With over 35 Asian Pacific countries represented we host a celebration honoring a different country or a group of countries every year. Our celebration occurs in the month of April since our semester is over in early May.