This annual, month-long tribute to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights, is observed in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11.
The achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender icons are recognized over the month. Intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT, this observance originated in the United States and was founded by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson in 1994. Learn more.
Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15
Hispanic Heritage Month began on September 15, the anniversary of independence to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua (1821). Mexico declared independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.
Approved as Hispanic Heritage Week by President Lyndon Johnson and expanded to cover a 30-day period by President Ronald Reagan, Hispanic Heritage Month was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. The term Hispanic, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race. Learn more.
October 1 James Meredith attends University of Mississippi
On October 1, 1962, James Meredith was the first African-American student enrolled in the University of Mississippi. Motivated by President John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, Meredith decided to exercise his constitutional rights and apply to "Ole Miss." His goal was to put pressure on the Kennedy administration to enforce civil rights for African Americans.
This event was a flashpoint in the American Civil Rights Movement. White students and anti-desegregation supporters flocked to the university campus to riot in protest of Meredith's enrollment. Learn more.
October 2 Non-violence Day
On this date in 2007, The United Nations General Assembly declared the International Day of Non-Violence in honor of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi helped India gain independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom around the world.
Although he was not the originator of the non-violence principle, Gandhi was the first to apply it in the political field on a large scale. His novel approach brought down colonialism, strengthened the roots of popular sovereignty, and inspired freedom seekers like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Aung San Suu Kyi. Learn more.
October 14 Martin Luther King Jr. awarded Nobel Peace Prize
The 1964 Nobel Peace Prize was given to Martin Luther King Jr. for his nonviolent campaign against racism.
King adhered to Gandhi's philosophy of nonviolence. In 1955, he began his struggle to persuade the U.S. government to declare race discrimination in the southern states unlawful. Following King's nonviolent march to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington in 1963, President Johnson passed the law prohibiting all racial discrimination in 1964. Learn more.
October 24 United Nations Day
On this date in 1945, the United Nations Charter officially went into affect. Originally signed in June 26, by 50 of the 51 member countries, it was enforced after ratification by the five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States) It has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. Learn more.
October 28 Statue of Liberty Dedicated
Originally known as "Liberty Enlightening the World," The Statue of Liberty National Monument was officially dedicated to the United States on October 28, 1886. The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty's symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as international friendship. Learn more.