Hispanic Heritage Month runs through October 15, so Culturas took a dive into more important historical figures! Next up are Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Sonia Sotomayor, Jovita Idár and Albert Baez. To continue the history lesson with your kids, print out your own worksheet below.
Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter who was born on the outskirts of Mexico City just before the beginning of the Mexican Revolution. As a child, she contracted polio, which left her right leg thinner than her left. She grew up to be one of only 35 young women to enroll at the National Preparatory School. During her time as a student, Frida was in a bus accident that almost killed her. Rehabilitation lasted months. She dealt with boredom by painting, launching her lifelong career. Though much of her art is regarded as surrealist, Frida was known to say that her work only depicted her reality.
If we’re discussing Frida Kahlo, it feels important to highlight the equally renowned Diego Rivera, her husband. Diego and his twin were born in Guanajuato, Mexico, though his brother ended up dying by age 2. He studied at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts and across Europe, where he developed his own style of Mexican-influenced cubism. Diego’s return to Mexico saw him become a major proponent of Mexican Muralism in the form of his monumental frescoes. His work in the United States, which portrayed American life on public buildings, provided inspiration for President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration program.
Sonia Sotomayor was born in the Bronx to Puerto Rican natives in 1954. She grew up to become the first Latina and third ever woman to be on the Supreme Court of the United States. At age 10, after watching an episode of “Perry Mason,” Sonia decided she one day wanted to be a lawyer. Pre-SCOTUS, she “saved” Major League Baseball with her decision in Silverman v. Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee, Inc, which ended a strike. Sonia has been on the Supreme Court since 2009, where she fervently has supported civil liberties, the protection of affirmative action programs, the Affordable Care Act and same-sex marriage.
Jovita Idár was a jack-of-all-trades: journalist, activist, suffragist, teacher, nurse. Activism was in her blood, after all. In Laredo, Texas, where she grew up, her parents owned La Crónica, an early 20th century Spanish-language newspaper that exposed injustices endured by Mexican Texans. Jovita originally became a teacher, but resigned because of segregation. She went to work at the family newspaper where, among other issues, wrote about women’s suffrage. A trailblazing feminist, she founded the League of Mexican Woman, which provided education for Mexican American students. In her 60 years, Jovita nursed those injured in the Mexican Revolution, became involved in the Texas Democratic Party, started a free kindergarten and helped organize the First Mexican Congress.
Albert Baez was the co-inventor of the x-ray reflection microscope, which launched the field of x-ray optics. He was born in Puebla, Mexico in 1912 and immigrated to Brooklyn, New York with his family at two years old. He grew up to earn degrees from Drew University and Syracuse University, finally coming to Stanford for his doctorate in physics. Albert served as UNESCO’s first director of its science education program, which aimed to improve science education in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Baez had three children with wife Joan Chandos Bridge, two of them being folk singers Joan Baez and Mimi Fariña.
We’d love to see the work you and your family have done! Email completed worksheets (like Derek’s!) to our editor for a chance to have them shared on Culturas.