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May 5th and May 6th: Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day!

Cinco de Mayo Research Topic

Cinco de Mayo Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Teachers! Don’t miss a unique opportunity to have a multicultural celebration in your classrooms on Friday, May 5th. Friday is Cinco de Mayo, while Saturday, May 6th, will be Derby Day, a celebration of the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” at the Kentucky Derby!

First things first:  As most of you know, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day. That will be September 16th. Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the Mexican Army’s defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It seems that Cinco de Mayo is perhaps observed more in the United States than in Mexico because it has turned into a celebration of Mexican culture instead of a great military victory. The roots of Cinco de Mayo go back to the French occupation of Mexico which occurred after the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the so-called Reform War of 1858-1861. Cinco de Mayo celebrations probably began in the 1860s in California where Mexicans living there opposed French rule in Mexico.

Kentucky Derby Research Topic

Kentucky Derby Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

On Saturday, May 6th, Louisville will showcase the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. The history of the Derby dates way back to 1862. After seeing horse races in both England and France, Meriwether Lewis Clark, grandson of William Clark of the Corps of Discovery explorers Lewis and Clark, decided to stage a racing event in the States. With help from his uncles John and Henry Churchill, Clark developed a racetrack called the Louisville Jockey Club. The first “run for the roses” was held on May 17, 1875. (FYI: the race was won by Aristides). In 1883, the name Churchill Downs was first used for the track that hosts the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the famed Triple Crown of horse racing.

Educators should take time out this Friday to have some fun in the classroom learning about and celebrating these two unique cultural events.

Mexico Research Topic

Mexico Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Louisville Research Topic

Louisville Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Let Us Celebrate – Cinco de Mayo” is a fine collection of resources from the Library of Congress that features links to several Primary Sources relating to Hispanic Americans, Hispanic Exploration in America, France in America, a Guide to the Mexican War and Mexican Immigration, among other topics. Today in History: May 5 is a nice website, also from the Library of Congress, that explains Cinco de Mayo and provides links to other resources. A very nice collection of curricular materials to help teach students about Cinco de Mayo can be found at the New York University Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

As far as learning about the Derby, the Kentucky Derby Museum provides several downloadable materials that educators can use in the classroom, including Derby Trivia and Fun Facts, Coloring Sheets, Kentucky Derby Seek and Find and a Suggested Reading list. If you care to have a sing-a-long of “My Old Kentucky Home,” you can find the lyrics here! And feel free to make up your own activities, such as having a Derby Hat contest.

eLibrary has many resources to help you have fun (and learn a little) about these two annual festivals.

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