Frank Espada was a political activist and documentary photographer of Puerto Rican extraction based in New York and California. His photographic archives comprise thousands of black-and-white photographs and negatives as well as supporting papers and recordings, chiefly dating from the mid-1960s through 2000. The materials relate to Espada's lifelong work documenting the Puerto Rican diaspora, civil and economic rights movements, indigenous Chamorro communities in Micronesia, and HIV/AIDS outreach in San Francisco. The Puerto Rican Diaspora series includes over 150 oral history recordings. The Civil Rights series documents voter registration drives and school desegregation rallies in New York City, 1964-1970, as well as discriminatory housing and anti-poverty movements, primarily in California. The professional papers provide supporting documentation of his life and work as a photographer, activist, community organizer, and teacher, and include files related to research and writings, exhibits, teaching, and publicity. The earliest dated item is a 1946 essay by Espada, "What democracy means to me." Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.
Frank Espada's photographic archives comprise thousands of photographic prints, contact sheets, and negatives, as well as professional papers, spanning the length of Frank Espada's career as a photographer and community activist from the mid-1950s through 2010. The materials document Espada's Puerto Rican diaspora around the world; indigenous Chamorro communities in Micronesia, primarily in Guam, Tinian, and Saipan; drug abuse prevention programs and HIV/AIDS outreach in San Francisco; and civil rights, education, and housing rights movements, primarily in New York City and San Francisco. Espada was not only an observant photographer, but was also deeply involved in all of his projects as an activist, social worker, and humanitarian.
A large series of professional papers provides supporting documentation of his life and work as a photographer, activist, community organizer, and teacher. The earliest dated item, an essay Espada wrote in 1946, "What democracy means to me," is found in this series, which also contains research files on documentary and research topics; preparation for his many photography projects and related exhibits; a few videocassettes; teaching syllabi and notes from his photography courses at U.C. Berkeley; awards and memorabilia; and publicity.
The largest body of materials, which numbers over 12,000 items and includes photographs as well as manuscripts and over 100 recorded oral interviews, derives from Espada's work with Puerto Rican communities in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico.
Another significant group of materials derives from Espada's activism on behalf of voter registration and school desegregation in New York City from 1962-1970, and later in California in support of anti-poverty, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse prevention and outreach, and housing rights.
Each of the photographic project series includes finished prints ranging in size from 8x10 to 24x30 inches; contact sheets and work prints; and negatives, which are housed in a separate series and are closed to use.
Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.