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Frank Espada – Documentary Photographer and Civil Rights Activist » I For Color

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Frank Espada – Documentary Photographer and Civil Rights Activist

~Frank Espada~

Documentary Photographer and Civil Rights Activist

“We need to raise some holy hell,” he wrote to us. “For we have landed at the bottom and have stayed there.

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“I Will Follow You Silent”

I will follow you forever, quiet and fugitive
among dark streets ground by nostalgia,
or over stars smiling with rhythms
where your deepest looks rock their history

(Translated by Jack Agueros in “Song of the Simple Truth.”

 

Frank Espada was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico in 1930, grew up in New York City and now lives in San Francisco where he teaches photography. Last year he published a book of his photographs from 1970 to 1985 that chronicle the lives and stories of Puerto Rican communities across the United

MALCOLM X Brooklyn 1964

States. The book is called “The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People.”

 

Frank Espada began photographing Puerto Rican immigrants in the U.S. in the late 1950s. From 1979 to 1981, with support from a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he focused his creative energies on documenting 34 particular Puerto Rican communities and their struggle to survive and thrive in America. Photographs from this project have been exhibited across the country and eventually led to the publication of The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People in 2006.