Born: July 31, 1944
Known for: A native Sacramentan, Richard Rodriguez is an award-winning essayist and author.
Background: Rodriguez, a Mexican American, grew up in east Sacramento. His family was among the first Latinos to move into the middle-class, white neighborhood. His father worked in a shop that made false teeth. His mother also worked, ultimately as a typist in Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown's office. He used his painful memories about his youthful assimilation in his 1982 autobiography, "Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez." He received a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a master's degree from Columbia University. A contributing editor at New America Media in San Francisco, he was a regular essayist on PBS' "MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour." His other books include "Mexico's Children," "Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father," which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and "Brown: The Last Discovery of America." His works have also appeared in numerous magazines.
A highlight: Among his awards, Rodriguez received a 1997 George Foster Peabody Award for his "News Hour" essays on American life.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.