FRANK ESPADA has been a grass roots organizer and political activist for many years. He was a founding organizer of the National Welfare Rights Organization, the National Latino Media Coalition, the National Hispanic Manpower Association, and the National Association of Puerto Rican Drug Abuse Programs, among others. He has served as Executive Vice President of the New York Urban Coalition and as Deputy Commissioner of the Community Development Agency in New York City.
He has been a photographer for over 50 years, having studied at the New York Institute of Photography and with Gene Smith in the late 1950s.
In 1979, Frank received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his "Puerto Rican Diaspora Documentary Project", which took him all over the country documenting the Puerto Rican migratory experience in 34 locations in the mainland, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The resulting exhibit was shown in 45 venues over a 15-year period. A book of this work, The Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People was published in 2006. The book has received numerous book design and printing awards since its publication.
Frank and his family moved to San Francisco in 1985, where he taught at various educational institutions and held private workshops for 20 years.
AWARDS AND HONORS
In 1990, he worked with the Mid-City Coalition for HIV prevention in San Francisco, documenting the work of their community health organizers. The resulting essay was exhibited at AIDS Update Conferences nationally. In 1992, he photographed the Chamorro communities in Micronesia, primarily in Guam, Tinian, and Saipan, struggling for separation from the American hegemony. The documentary was exhibited in Guam and several other locations, including Guadalajara, Mexico.
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Frank Espada and "The Puerto Rican Diaspora"