June

Caribbean-American Heritage Month – June 2021

National Caribbean American Month is celebrated every June to honor and celebrate America’s rich and diverse culture, which also includes the Caribbean-American population. People from this community have not only evolved the American culture but have also contributed greatly to the development of the nation in areas of science and medicine. There are also numerous Caribbean Americans whose services the U.S is grateful for even today. This month aims to recognize the contributions of all Caribbean-American people and to teach people more about their culture and history. Come celebrate with us!

History of Caribbean-American Heritage Month

A long time ago, many major Caribbean nations were under direct U.S. political control at some point, which made their immigration into America much easier. The earliest wave of Caribbean nationals came to the U.S. in the 19th century and were mostly guest workers from the British West Indies program, who worked in agriculture, as well as political exiles from Cuba. As U.S. companies began recruiting English-speaking workers from former English colonies like Jamaica, migration increased to a great extent. This time also saw many more Caribbean people flee political instability and seek refuge in the U.S. The success of the U.S. as a nation also attracted numerous people from the Caribbean regions to the country. Amongst these were talented craftsmen, poets, doctors, inventors, and other individuals that added greatly to different professional spheres in the nation. Some of the renowned names include Alexander Hamilton — the first Secretary of Treasury and one of the Founding Fathers, Celia Cruz — the lady known for creating astounding salsa music, the famous baseball player Robert Clemente, and several other individuals who managed to leave a mark on U.S. history. The U.S. is also a trading partner for the Caribbean nations. National Caribbean American Month was formed to honor these talented individuals and the positive relations the country has built with the Caribbean. While immigration increased before the 20th century, it has since declined gradually. Most immigrants are from five countries: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The month was founded by Dr. Claire Nelson and was celebrated across the nation for the first time by the Institute of Caribbean Studies in 2000. However, the move to officially declare June as National Caribbean American Month started in 2004 when a legislative bill was passed by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. The resolution was made official in 2006 when President George W. Bush signed the proclamation, naming June as National Caribbean American Month.

During this month, knowledge regarding the contributions of the Caribbean is pushed to the forefront, and people are also reminded of the great Caribbean cuisine, their music, and the majestic annual parades of the Caribbean Americans. This is the time of the year when the country is given a blast from the past, topped with a lot of entertainment!

Caribbean-American Heritage Month timeline

1492
The Great Discovery

Christopher Columbus lands on the Caribbean Islands.

1886
A New Beginning

Slavery is abolished in Cuba.

1920
Sugary Days

Dominican sugar production climbs due to exports to the U.S.

Early 20th Century
First Wave of Large-Scale Migration Begins

Voluntary migration to the U.S. from the Caribbean nations begins.

1970s
Spreading Joy

Legendary Jamaican singer Bob Marley appears on the music scene.

1999
The Beginning

The Institute of Caribbean Studies begins efforts to found a Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

2000
Efforts Ramp Up

The Institute of Caribbean Studies leads celebrational activities in Washington, D.C., building on a group of residents’ efforts to establish Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

2004
The Official Campaign Begins

Congresswoman Barbara Lee tables a legislative bill in Congress to establish Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

June 2005
The Bill is Passed

The House of Representatives passes the legislative bill to declare June as Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

Jun 5, 2006
It is Official!

President George W. Bush makes the resolution official — June is now Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

2010
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians

Immigrants who have been in the U.S. since the massive earthquake are granted temporary rights to stay in the country — this has since been scrapped.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month FAQs

What is Caribbean heritage?

The people born in or inhabitants of the Caribbean region or people of Caribbean descent living outside the Caribbean are those with Caribbean heritage.

What are the 13 Caribbean countries?

The 13 Caribbean countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

What is the Caribbean known for?

The Caribbean is well-known for its sea life and boasts some of the world’s most popular diving spots. It is also one of the world’s premier yachting locales.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month Activities

  1. Learn about our Caribbean friends

    Read up on the history of Caribbean immigration to the U.S. and how they have helped drive the American dream and turn it into a reality. You can also visit museums and exhibits to learn more about the history of Caribbean immigration. Turn this visit into a fun little field trip for the family.

  2. Cook up a Caribbean storm

    Nothing highlights a culture quite like its cuisine. Get inspired and get cooking. Whip up a delicious jerk chicken, Jamaican rum punch, or some coco bread. You can take cooking lessons from your Caribbean friends or, better yet, surprise them with a Caribbean-themed dinner party.

  3. Visit the Institute of Caribbean Studies website

    Each year for Caribbean-American Heritage Month, the Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS) works with its partner organizations to devise a varied bunch of activities to suit people of all ages and genders. Visit their website and check out the events happening online or in your community. If you cannot find such events locally, get inspired by their website and come up with your own events for friends and family.

5 Fun Facts About The Caribbean And Caribbean-Americans

  1. A significant population

    The census from June 2018 reported that there are almost 13.2 million Caribbean-Americans across the U.S.

  2. Alexander Hamilton was a Caribbean-American, too!

    One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Alexander Hamilton, was originally from the Caribbean island of Nevis.

  3. The rich heritage

    The Caribbean is home to 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  4. The vast Caribbean Islands

    There are over 2,000 Caribbean islands.

  5. Caribbean-Americans prefer some American cities

    From 2013–2017, U.S. cities with the most American citizens were the greater New York and Miami metropolitan areas — almost 63% of total Caribbean immigrants lived here.

Why We Love Caribbean-American Heritage Month

  1. We get to celebrate our rich history

    Even in America’s earliest days, we have seen significant contributions by Caribbean Americans. Their skills, their knowledge, and their innovation have enriched our nation. Caribbean-American Heritage Month is our chance to acknowledge and celebrate this rich heritage and celebrate their spirit.

  2. Learn more about Caribbean culture

    While learning about their contributions towards America, we simultaneously understand how their culture and origins have influenced our own. We explore their rich history and delve into a world that has advanced our own.

  3. We become more accepting

    The more we brush up on the globalization trend, the more we learn to be open-minded to new experiences, people, and cultures around us. With an entire month to throw light on the Caribbean-American population, we can’t help but feel we have grown more culturally sensitive than before. We believe this makes us better at accepting diversity, and that will always be a good thing.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month dates

YearDateDay
2021June 1Tuesday
2022June 1Wednesday
2023June 1Thursday
2024June 1Saturday
2025June 1Sunday

Explore this month

African-American Music Appreciation Month
Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
Audiobook Appreciation Month
Beautiful in Your Skin Month
Black Lives Matter Month
Caribbean-American Heritage Month
Cataract Awareness Month
Child Vision Awareness Month
Effective Communications Month
Fireworks Safety Month
Great Outdoors Month
National Accordion Awareness Month
National Adopt A Cat Month
National Aphasia Awareness Month
National Camping Month
National Candy Month
National Country Cooking Month
National Dairy Month
National DJ Month
National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month
National Give a Bunch of Balloons Month
National Homeownership Month
National Iced Tea Month
National Men's Health Month
National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month
National Oceans Month
National Pollinators Month
National PTSD Awareness Month
National Rivers Month
National Rose Month
National Safety Month
National Scoliosis Awareness Month
National Soul Food Month
National Steakhouse Month
National Zoo and Aquarium Month
Oral Health Month
Perennial Gardening Month
Pride Month
Professional Wellness Month
Rebuild Your Life Month
Sports America Kids Month
Turkey Lovers Month
Women’s Golf Month
World Infertility Awareness Month
Dare Day
Flip A Coin Day
Global Day of Parents
International Tabletop Day
National Go Barefoot Day
National Hazelnut Cake Day
National Heimlich Maneuver Day
National Nail Polish Day
National Olive Day
National Say Something Nice Day
National Tailors Day
Oscar the Grouch Day
Pen Pal Day
Stand For Children Day
Wear a Dress Day
World Milk Day
World Reef Awareness Day