We Salute These Hispanic Trailblazers

We salute Latino pioneers who paved the way for the rest of us, from rock 'n' roll to baseball to outer space.

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    U.S. Supreme Court Justice In 2009, this Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent became the first Hispanic Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate.
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    New Mexico's Susana Martínez became the first Latina governor in United States history when she assumed office in 2011. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
    2012 Getty Images
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    Julian Castro

    Julian Castro became the first Latino cabinet member after President Barack Obama named him Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
    2014 Getty Images
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    U.S. Secretary of Transportation
    In 1993, under the Clinton administration, Federico Peña became the first Hispanic U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
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    U.S. Surgeon General
    Puerto Rican born Antonia Coello Novello became the first woman and Hispanic to serve as Surgeon General. She was appointed by former President George H.W. Bush in 1990.
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    U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
    During the Clinton administration, Henry Cisneros became the first Hispanic to serve as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He is credited with reviving many of the nation’s public housing developments.
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    Latino Astronaut
    In 1986, Costa Rica-born Franklin Chang-Díaz became the first Hispanic astronaut. As of 2008, he had completed seven Space Shuttle missions, making him the world record holder alongside Jerry L. Ross.
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    Latina Astronaut
    In 1993, when Ellen Ochoa served nine days on a mission abroad the shuttle Discovery, she became the first Hispanic woman to go into space. She has won numerous awards as an astronaut and engineer.
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    Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer  Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana was the first Hispanic artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
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    Oscar Winner, Best Supporting Actor
    In 1952, Mexican born actor Anthony Quinn was the first Hispanic to win an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category. He had appeared alongside Marlon Brando in the movie, “Viva Zapata!”
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    Oscar, Best Supporting Actress

    The smash hit "West Side Story" made Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno a household name. She was the first Hispanic woman to win an Oscar, as the Best Supporting Actress in a film in 1962, and subsequently became the first Hispanic to win all four major awards in show business: an Oscar (1962), a Grammy (1972), a Tony (1975), and an Emmy (1977).
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    Pulitzer Prize for Drama
    In 2003, Cuban playwright Nilo Cruz became the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for his play, "Anna in the Tropics." The play was also honored with two Tony nominations.
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    Baseball Team Owner On May 15, 2003, businessman Arturo Moreno made history by becoming the first Hispanic to own a major baseball team in the United States. Arturo, who is of Mexican descent, bought the Anaheim Angels for a hefty $180 million dollars.
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    All-Star Game Player In 1951, Alfonso “Chico” Carrasquel became the first Hispanic baseball player selected to participate in an All-Star Game. The Venezuelan’s debut was on April 18,1950, with the Chicago White Sox.
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    Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee
      In 1973, by a vote of 393 out of 420, Roberto Clemente became the first Hispanic inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
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    No-Hit Pitcher While he was playing for the San Francisco Giants, Dominican Juan Marichal was the first Hispanic to pitch a no-hitter. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
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    Heavyweight Boxing Champ
      In 2001, John Ruiz, or “The Quietman” as he is known in the ring, became the first Hispanic Heavyweight Boxing Champion. In a controversial rematch with World Champion Evander Holyfield, Ruiz won the championship after 12 rough rounds.
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    TV Star Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball's real-life husband who also played her hubby on the 1950s hit "I Love Lucy," was the first Hispanic co-star of a prime time English-language television show.
    AP Bank
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    Late Night Talk Show Comedian George Lopez, also known as GLo, was the first Hispanic to host a late night talk show on English television.
    2013 Getty Images
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    Oscar, Best Director  Mexican-born Alfonso Cuarón directed the motion picture, Gravity. On March 2, 2014 he became the first Latino to ever win Best Director at the 86th Annual Academy Awards.  
    2014 Getty Images
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    US Senator Octavio Ambrosio Larrazolo was originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. In 1928, he became the first Hispanic to be elected as a US Senator.  
    Library of Congress
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    Drafted National Hockey League Player
      In 1998, Scott Gomez was the first Latino to be drafted to the National Hockey League. He was a first-round draft pick and played for the New Jersey Devils.
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    Pulitzer Prize For Fiction For the story set in the 1950s of Cuban musicians in New York City, Oscar Hijuelos was the first Hispanic to ever win a Pulitzer for fiction for The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. He is a second generation Cuban-American and grew up in the same city where his novel was set.
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