Italian Heritage Month

Image Credit:

Gloria Perez, Senior Editor

Italian Heritage Month is celebrated throughout the month of October to recognize the achievements, successes, and importance of contributions from those of Italian origin. 

Italians makeup the fifth largest ethnic group in America which has over 26 million Americans of Italian descent. The origins of Italian Heritage month go back to 1805 when the marines played Italian-inspired music. Thomas Jefferson recruited Sicilian musicians to form a military band. 

Some noteworthy Italian Americans include Giovanni Nobili who founded Santa Clara University in 1851 as well as Geraldine Ferraro who is attributed in breaking the gender barrier in 1984 by becoming the first woman nominated for vice president of the United States.

Also quite interesting is the fact that America is named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. Another influence by an Italian can be found in the declaration of independence as Filippo Mazzei wrote the phrase “All men are by nature equally free and independent.” This phrase was reworded to “All men are created equal.”

In the late 19th century, many Italians along with other Europeans  migrated to the United States. Their contributions included the construction of many cities including New York. Italian Americans undoubtedly deserve recognition in shaping the nation that they so proudly assimilated to throughout the ages.