One of the most famous leaders of the Chicano civil rights movement, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales was a multifaceted and charismatic, bigger-than-life hero who inspired his followers not only by taking direct political action but also by making eloquent speeches, writing incisive essays, and creating the kind of socially engaged poetry and drama that could be communicated easily through the barrios of Aztlán, populated by Chicanos in the United States.
Gonzales is the author of I Am Joaquín, an epic poem of the Chicano movement that lives on in film, sound recording, and hundreds of anthologies. Gonzales and other Chicanos established the Crusade for Justice, a Denver-based civil rights organization, school, and community center, in 1966. The school, La Escuela Tlatelolco, lives on today almost four decades after its founding.
In Message to Aztlán, Dr. Antonio Esquibel, Professor Emeritus of Metropolitan State College of Denver, has compiled the first collection of Gonzales' diverse writings: the original I Am Joaquín (1976), along with a new Spanish translation, seven major speeches (1968-78); two plays, The Revolutionist and A Cross for Malcovio (1966-67); various poems written during the 1970's, and a selection of letters. These varied works demonstrate the evolution of Gonzales' thought on human and civil rights. Any examination of the Chicano movement is incomplete without this volume. Eight pages of photographs accompany the text.
Praise for Message to Aztlán:
"Gonzales' poetry and plays…are historically important and represent the struggles encountered by Chicanos up to the 1980's."
"Message to Aztlán contains a valuable key to understanding the depths of Gonzales' revulsion to mainstream politics and its representatives."
—San Antonio Express-News