This teaching guide is built around a documentary, The Legacy of Frank Bonilla, produced by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies/ Centro in 2011. Frank Bonilla was a university researcher and community activist. Bonilla worked on research projects in New York’s Puerto Rican community, various Latin American countries, and Latino/as nationwide. As the founding director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in the City University of New York, he took a leading role in shaping the field of Puerto Rican studies. In studying Bonilla’s life, we gain insight into Puerto Rican social movements that responded to chronic problems facing Puerto Ricans in the states and sought to build political power. Studying the accomplishments of Dr. Bonilla provides students with an opportunity to learn about Puerto Ricans’ contributions to the intellectual, political and economic development of U.S. society. As an outcome of the teaching and learning activities suggested here, students will advance in their historical awareness of postwar history of New York City’s diverse populations, including that of Puerto Ricans.
Traces the life of a pioneer in higher education from his humble roots in New York City to his days in combat in World War II to the founding of Centro, the only institution dedicated solely to the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.