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Google Doodle honors Denver-born Chicano activist Rodolfo ‘Corky’ Gonzales

Google Doodle

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- Thursday, Google Doodle honored an influential Denver-based boxer, poet, and leader in the U.S. Chicano Civil Rights Movement.

Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales was born on June 18, 1928, in an east-side barrio of Denver. He grew up working in sugar beet fields with his father, a first-generation Mexican immigrant.

After leaving college due to high tuition, Corky became an amateur boxer. He made a name for himself, going pro as a featherweight at 19.

According to Google Doodle, Corky retired from boxing in 1955 and began using his influence in the community to advocate against racial and socioeconomic injustices across the U.S. Corky organized demonstrations in Denver and across the country, marching alongside other civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr.

Corky reflected on his activism and Chicano pride through creative writing. His most notable piece of work is "Yo Soy Joaquín." The poem tells the story of a man who travels through history and experiences life as multiple Spanish leaders, Indigenous leaders, a Mexican revolutionary, and a Chicano in the U.S.

According to our Denver affiliate, Corky and his family founded Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios. The first private school in American history that focused on Chicano and Mexican-American cultural studies.

"Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, my father brought the world to my family and our people," said Rudy Gonzales, his son and the executive director of Servicios de La Raza in Denver. "Thank you, Google, for bringing the world to him."

Gonzales told 9News Google had first approached his family in 2018 about the project.

The Doodle was illustrated by Brooklyn-based artist Roxie Vizcarra. She told Google she hopes the art helps other Latinos "feel as much pride in their heritage and identity as Corky would have wanted them to."

The slideshow depicts Corky's life while featuring lines from his poem "Yo Soy Joaquín." Corky passed away in 2005 at the age of 75.

Learn more about Corky's life and work provided by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center on Google Arts & Culture by clicking here.

Go behind the Doodle in the video below:

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Shelby Filangi

Shelby is a digital content producer for KRDO.com. You can learn more about Shelby here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. Corky Gonzalez was an amazing man who really made a difference.

    1. Huh? Again, I got lost in your grammar…trying to decipher the meaning of your comment. Google, “Apostrophe” or “Possessive Grammar.” Or get back in school and get that GED.

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