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Tomas Rivera
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    (December 22, 1935-May 16, 1984)
    Born in Crystal City, Texas
    Chicano novelist, poet, teacher, essayist, and short story writer
    Graduate from Southwest Texas State University in 1958
    Later graduated from the University of Oklahoma a Doctorate in Romance Languages and Literature (1969)
    Best known for his novel '...y no se lo tragó la tierra' ('...and the Earth Did Not Devour Him'; 1971)
    Other works include 'The Harvest,' 'This Migrant Earth,' 'Always and Other Poems,' and 'The Searchers: Collected Poetry'
    Namesake for the Hispanic-American advocacy think tank, Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (founded in 1985)
    His work rarely deviated from the subject of migrant farm workers (well, as they say, 'write about what you know,' right?)
    Schoolkids have frequently been made to read his (kinda boring) 'Harvest' short story.
    A Prentice Hall/Pearson Lit textbook even pairs it with Guy de Maupassant's 'Necklace' short story, for some reason (kids have to use 'critical thinking' to compare the two).
    His most famous book is known by half a dozen different titles, depending on the translator (confusing).
    His activism for education reform on behalf of minorities, in later years, limited his output as a writer.
    His 'y no se lo trago la tierra' has turned up on many national 'Banned Book Awareness' lists because of what some parents termed 'offensive language.'
    He said: 'when people asked what I wanted to be, I'd tell them a writer. They were surprised or indifferent. If people don't read, what is a writer?'
    He cited his grandfather as a source of information.
    He wrote his first short story after experiencing a car accident, as a child, writing about the experience and calling it 'The Accident.'
    He had to alternate his schooling with his migrant labor.
    He continued to pursue his education until he had achieved a Ph.D. with an M.A. in Spanish Literature.
    He was arguably the first Mexican-American author to convey the hardships faced by migrants to a mainstream American audience.
    He mastered the difficult task of writing a Spanish language novella through the Faulknerian stream-of-consciousness.
    He made history as the first Mexican-American to serve as Chancellor in the University of California System.
    He received the first Premio Quinto Sol literary award for 'y no se lo trago la tierra' (1971)
    He was presented with the Chicano News Media Association Award for outstanding achievements and contributions to the Chicano community.
    He received an award from the Riverside Chapter of the NAACP for his leadership as Chancellor at the Riverside Campus.
    Well over a dozen schools, plazas, certifications, and streets throughout Texas are named in his honor.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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