Rodolfo Gonzales in “I AM JOAQUIN!”

Welcome Back, Ladies & Gents! Happy Hispanic Heritage Month to all Hispanics AND Latinos! To honor this month, I decide to bring you someone that I myself had no idea of but resonated very much with. Now, I could have gone with someone more well-known such as Cesar Chavez, but that would be too easy. No, as Black Sheep we must step outside what can be easily done. So, in light of that. Today, I bring to your attention, Rodolfo Gonzales, the creator of “I Am Joaquin!

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales was a pro Boxer, poet, activist and the creator of the controversial poem, “I Am Joaquin!”

Rodolfo Gonzales in "I AM JOAQUIN!"

In his early life, along with his 7 siblings, Corky was imparted knowledge and wit necessary to survive Denver’s east-side barrios. It was there that he realized the shortcomings of the systems put in place. Through his father, Federico, he continued to learned about the Mexican revolution and their continuous struggle against Spanish domination. Rodolfo continued on this path to acquire more knowledge about his lineage and heritage til his dying day. Unknown to many, this is were his activism first began and was cultivated.

When not in school, Corky would work the beet fields to help his widowed father and 7 siblings. Astonishingly enough, he graduated High School at the young age of 16 while working and boxing.

It’s apparent, Rodolfo’s strong work ethic are reason enough to make him a Black Sheep.

Rodolfo Gonzales in "I AM JOAQUIN!"

For those of you wondering, Corky derived his name from his behavior as his uncle put it, “he was always popping off like a cork.” As a matter of fact, Corky had a very successful career as a pro Boxer and was ranked top three in the Featherweight position with 63 wins, 11 losses, and 1 draw. This is hard to believe, to be honest. There are not many who can work in the fields, graduate at a young age, and still turn pro. 

In contrast, nowadays many pro fighters have had to quit their jobs or live on welfare such as Connor McGregor to reach their goal. Yet, these individuals in our history make it happen like nothing. Although, Corky was always considered a top contender, he never got his shot at the title, but he was still known as one of the best. Later, in 1988, he was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and had a library named after him.

Clearly, this man had a strong sense of value, intelligence, and tenacity.

Rodolfo Gonzales in "I AM JOAQUIN!"

Evidently, he made apparent what a Black Sheep stands for. As Black Sheep, we do not confine ourselves in a box or fit into the cultural norms, not when there is work to be done. Rodolfo personifies everything we should strive for which is being of strong body, mind, and spirit. Let’s continue.

He began his political journey in the early 1940’s, by registering Latino voters and spearheading the foundation, the Crusade for Justice in 1967. Corky wholeheartedly believed that the current systems and establishments were not fulfilling the roles they were made to fill. He was right. Unfortunately, after several failed attempts in other parties he returned home to take stock of his situation.

So, what did Corky do from here?

Well, he did as any Black Sheep would. He started his own private school and healthcare center which did not teach one, but many dichotomous cultures found in the Hispanic heritage. He realized his vision with his iconic poem, “I Am Joaquin!” Although facing many setbacks with his own parties and the Denver police, such as police brutality/bombings, he continued his work until his dying day. Ladies and Gents, this was a Black Sheep that passionately believed in the truth until his dying day where he checked himself out of the hospital stating,

“I’m indigenous. I’m going to die at home among my family. “He was remembered as the “fist” of the Chicano movement.

-Rodolfo Gonzales

Rodolfo Gonzales was immortalized by his poem, “I am Joaquin.” in 1967.

Rodolfo Gonzales in "I AM JOAQUIN!"

Similar to Alexander the Great or Teddy Roosevelt, this was a man willing to put himself through pains and suffering, not for himself, but for the good of other people. Furthermore, he did not seek accolades, riches, but sought to fill his cup with value and passion. Clearly, he wanted to make this one life stand for something more than your typical 9-5, expensive cars, and other superficial crap. And for that my friends, he is a Black Sheep.

If you would like to know more, please visit Veterans of Hope or click here. If you have any questions or suggestions on the next Black Sheep of the Month, feel free to contact us. If you liked this, subscribe and share with your friends. If you like what were about and want to rep with your fellow Black Sheep, visit our shop here.

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