Celebrating Italian-American Heritage Month

By Lori Barton, accounting specialist, IPS Administration

Two of the IPS Diversity Committee’s goals are to bring recognition to different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds and to encourage each of us to broaden our knowledge by learning something new about the people we come in contact with daily.

When I volunteered to write an article in the Catchup for the National Italian-American Heritage Month, I learned real quick how little I knew about October being recognized as National Italian-American Heritage Month or National Italian Heritage Month.  National Italian Heritage Month is celebrated in October to coincide with Columbus Day. Throughout the month, Italian-Americans, many of whom had family immigrate to the United States over 100 years ago, and Italians like Christopher Columbus, who discovered the New World, are celebrated for the contributions they have made and continue to make in both the United States and throughout the world.

In 1989, President George Bush signed a proclamation to recognize Italian-Americans and to proclaim the month of October 1989 as “Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month.”  President Bush’s proclamation dated October 12, 1989 reads:

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

This month, we celebrate the rich ethnic heritage of Italian-Americans and the many contributions they have made to American culture. Throughout our Nation’s history, men and women of Italian descent have made outstanding contributions in business and the arts, education, and government, as well as in athletics and military service. Virtually every aspect of our life as a Nation has been enriched by their unique talents and hard work.

Italian-Americans share with us not only the colorful traditions of their ancestral homeland, but also its proud history. It was a brave son of Genoa, Christopher Columbus, who first discovered the New World nearly half a millennium ago and, in so doing, forged the path that millions of immigrants have since followed to the United States. Italy has also given the world the great works of Dante, the breathtaking art of Giotto and Michelangelo, and the inspirational music of Antonio Vivaldi and Domenico Scarlatti. Italian-Americans enjoy a rich cultural heritage, indeed.

Many outstanding men and women of Italian descent have enriched our Nation’s own history. All Americans take great pride in the accomplishments of individuals such as Fiorello La Guardia, the beloved Mayor of New York City; Enrico Fermi, who won the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics; Paolo Soleri, the celebrated architect; and baseball hero Joe DiMaggio. They and other Italian-Americans throughout the United States have made extraordinary contributions to our life as a Nation.

Whether defending freedom on the front lines of battle or participating in the daily workings of our democracy, Italian-Americans have clearly demonstrated their love of freedom and self-government and their profound respect for the rights and dignity of every individual. Their patriotism — coupled with their deep faith and devotion to family life — has truly strengthened the fabric of our society.

In recognition of the many contributions Italian-Americans have made and continue to make to our Nation, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 392, has designated the month of October 1989 as “Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month” and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1989 “Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month.” I urge all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth.

Citation: George Bush: “Proclamation 6045—Italian-American Heritage and Culture Month, 1989”, October 12, 1989. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Projecthttp://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=1763.

Source URL (retrieved on 09/28/2018 14:04)


There are so many ways to learn more about a culture.  Sometimes I think we forget to ask people we know or come in contact with questions about his or her background.  The Italian-American heritage is rich in history, food, and culture.  We should always strive to be learning.  To learn more about the Italian-American culture, I encourage you to pick up a book, read an article, watch a movie, try a new recipe, or find an event near you.