FAMOUS HISPANIC CONTRIBUTORS AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Hispanic Americans made significant contributions to the development of our great nation even before the days of Admiral David Farragut and the Civil War. Farragut's father, a Spaniard, came to America in 1776 and fought for this country during the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

More recently, Hispanics have made their mark in politics, public service, the entertainment industry, organized sports, business, and science, as well as the military service. In the November 1992 elections, because of redistricting and a greater political awareness, Hispanics counted an unprecedented number of 18 members of Congress and two delegates within their ranks. The eight new freshmen congressmen overcame overwhelming odds in some cases to win in '92. This includes California Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (the eldest daughter of Representative Edward Roybal), who is the first Hispanic woman to directly follow her father in Congress, from an entirely different district. Other historical political firsts are discussed below. It is important to remember that with their representation almost doubled since the last federal election, Hispanics now have twice the political clout.

Henry Cisneros, former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, is a member of the Clinton administration, holding the cabinet post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

In the entertainment world, Hispanic Americans came to the forefront in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Edward James Olmos, known for his role on the television show Miami Vice, launched a successful movie career and also starred in Stand and Deliver, a movie about Los Angeles educator Jaime Escalante, and American Me, which concerns crime and violence in the Hispanic community. Gloria Estefan is a top contender in the record industry and Rubin Blade recorded his first album in English for non-Hispanic audiences.

In the world of science, Antonia Novello, a distinguished M.D., became the first Hispanic woman Surgeon General of the United States. NASA selected three Hispanic astronauts, including the first Hispanic woman astronaut, Ellen Ochoa.

Like David Farragut, Hispanics continue to distinguish themselves in the military service of their country. Hispanics have been awarded 39 Medals of Honor to date--more of the nation's highest military honor than any other identifiable group. Some 20,000 Hispanics served in Operation Desert Shield/Storm and many unsung Hispanic heroes emerged from the ground war with Iraq. In his autobiography, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf refers reverently to his former commander, Hispanic General Richard E. Cavazos, USA (Ret.), as one of the finest division commanders that he ever worked for. During Operation Restore Hope, the relief effort in Somalia, this nation mourned for the family of Domingo Arroyo, a Hispanic Marine and the first casualty in the region killed in a firefight with Somali warlords.

Hispanic Americans have made a difference in the history of this country. They leave a proud heritage for the future Hispanic leaders of the 21st century to emulate.