Today, Google presents a doodle to celebrate the American educator, boxer, poet and activist American Chicano Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales. The Doodle slideshow, illustrated by guest artist Roxie Vizcarra, based in Brooklyn, NY.
As well as being a boxing ring champion, Corky was also a champion of racial and socio-economic justice as one of the most influential leaders in the Chicano civil rights movement. Gonzales was one of the many leaders of the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado. The Crusade for Justice was known to be a Chicano cultural urban movement during the 1960s, focused on social, political and economic justice for Chicanos.
On this day in 1970, the Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, founded by Corky and his family, opened as the first private school in US history focused on Chicano / Mexican-American cultural studies. Today’s Doodle slides take a journey through Corky’s life while featuring verses from Gonzales’s epic 1967 poem and the rallying cry of the Chicano cultural movement, “Yo Soy Joaquín” (“I am Joaquín “).
Rodolfo Gonzales (nicknamed “Corky” for his effervescent personality) was born on June 18, 1928 in an eastern neighborhood of Denver, Colorado. Throughout his youth, Corky worked in the sugar beet fields with his father, a first generation Mexican immigrant who taught him to be proud of his heritage.
Despite her limited free time, Corky graduated from high school at just 16. He saved up for college, but after a year he couldn’t afford the high tuition fees. So he adopted his athleticism to become an amateur boxer in 1944. At 19, Corky went pro as a featherweight. At the peak of his career, he was ranked among the top 3 featherweight boxers in the world, but discriminatory organizers never gave him the chance to fight for the title. Retiring from boxing as a local star in 1955, he decided to use his platform and influence to fight racial and socio-economic injustice across the country.
In 1966, Corky founded the Crusade for Justice, a popular civil rights organization for the Chicanos. He organized protests in Denver and across the United States, marching alongside civil rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1969, Corky advanced the cause by hosting the first National Conference of Liberation of the Chicano Youth, where he inspired the younger generation to be proud of their heritage and be part of the Cultural Revolution.
Corky’s creative writing reflects his activism and honors his Chicano pride throughout his career. His most remarkable poem “Yo Soy Joaquín” tells the story of a man who travels through history to experience life as several Spanish rulers, indigenous rulers of the Aztec homeland of Aztlán (referenced by the Aztec pyramid on the fourth slide of the Doodle), a Mexican revolutionary, and finally a Chicano in the United States.
Largely thanks to leaders like Corky, the Chicano movement has led to widespread positive changes for the Mexican and Latin / a communities in the United States that continue to this day. This includes developing bilingual and multicultural socio-economic programs, improving working conditions for migrant workers, and increasing the representation of Mexican-Americans and Latinos / as in US politics and education. , so many fundamental elements of the struggle for justice and equality which continues to this day. He died in 2005 at the age of 76.
Source: Wikipedia, Google doodle
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