Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales

Colorado native and Chican@ Rights Activist, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales lived his life promoting equal rights for Chican@ students throughout Colorado. Born June 18, 1928 in Denver, Gonzales received his education in a time when schools were segregated and Mexican – American students were punished for speaking Spanish in classrooms. In 1969, he hosted the First National Chicano Liberation Youth Conference and penned the poem, “Yo Soy Joaquin”. This poem has become a fundamental piece in the Chicano@ literature and in demonstration of Chican@ identity. He founded a Crusade for Justice, the Ballet Chicano de Atzlán, and the Escuela Tlatelolco for underrepresened youth in the state.

~Amy Hernandez


Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Graduation

In 1944, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales graduated from Manual High School. In his final year at Manual, he worked in order to save money for college and attended University Of Denver for a single quarter. Unable to afford subsequent semesters, he left the University of Denver and pursued a career as a featherweight boxer. ~Amy Hernandez


Corky Gonzales West High School Walkout

Passion about the educational disparities for Chican@ student, Gonzales led a rally outside of West High School to support student activists. These 150 Chican@ students led a school wide walkout to protest corporal punishment and racial discrimination in their classrooms. Police violently reacted to the protest and beat students with billy clubs and shoved others to the ground. Over a dozen of the participants were arrested for the protest but only one was eventually convicted of any wrong doing. Gonzales was acquitted for assault. The police brutality associated with the protest incited subsequent protests in neighboring communities.

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