Frank Sandoval, whose U.S. Army service during World War II included taking part in one of the most critical and formidable roadbuilding projects of that military conflict, grew up in a predominantly Hispanic American community on Second Street in the small town of Silvis, Illinois. That street is just a block-and-a-half long and consists of... Continue Reading →

In 2004, Joseph Michael Acabá made history as the first person of Puerto Rican descent to be named as a NASA astronaut candidate. Acabá was born in 1967 in Inglewood, California. His parents, Ralph and Elsie Acabá, are from the municipality of Hatillo in Puerto Rico and had moved to California earlier in the decade.... Continue Reading →

From the first decade of the 20th century to 1936, Mexican American businesswoman María G. “Chata” Sada operated an establishment for weary travelers in a remote area of west Texas that has been part of Big Bend National Park since 1944. The establishment became widely known as “Chata’s Place,” and it was basically a combined... Continue Reading →

Joseph B. Aviles, Sr., who became the first Hispanic American chief petty officer (CPO) in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), was born near the town of Naranjito in central Puerto Rico in 1896. (Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony at the time, and became a territory of the United States a couple of years later.)... Continue Reading →

As a nurse, Maria Esperanza Garcia Roach was one of an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 Hispanic Americans who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Her own lifesaving role in this global conflict very much depended on airborne transportation. Maria was born on July 16, 1915, in the city of Piedras Negras... Continue Reading →

John J. Herrera, an attorney who fought long and hard for the civil rights of Mexican Americans, was born in Cravens, Louisiana, in 1910 to Antonia Jiménez and Juan José Herrera. While best known for helping to win one landmark case that declared school segregation of Hispanics illegal and an equally ground-breaking case which ruled the... Continue Reading →

In 2018, Serena Maria Auñón-Chancellor became only the second woman of Hispanic descent to fly into outer space. (Ellen Ochoa, who is of Mexican descent, made her first spaceflight in 1993.)  Auñón-Chancellor (she pronounces Auñón as ON-un) was born in Indianapolis in 1976. Her father, Dr. Jorge Auñón, is a Cuban exile who arrived in... Continue Reading →

In 1986, astronaut Franklin R. Chang Díaz became the first Hispanic-American to travel into outer space when he flew on board the Space Shuttle Columbia. Chang Díaz, the son of a father of Chinese descent and a mother who is Costa Rican, was born in San José, Costa Rica, in 1950. He moved to the... Continue Reading →

Federico Fernández Cavada was born sometime around 1831 in the city of Cienfuegos on the southern coast of Cuba. After his father’s death in 1838, his U.S.-born mother brought him and his brothers with her to live in Philadelphia. Fernández Cavada, who became both an engineer and topographer, joined the Union Army shortly after the... Continue Reading →

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