Award winning writer and Phoenix native Stella Pope Duarte’s new book, Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power, is the adventure tale we've loved reading since our first chapterbooks as kids... except hers is a nonfiction account of Raul Yzaguirre, prominent civil rights activist, former U.S. ambassador to the Domincan Republic, and presidential professor of practice in community development and civil rights at ASU. We spoke with Duarte ahead of her book signing, tomorrow, Dec. 1, in Mesa.
Duarte spent more than six years writing his biography, chronicling the life of one of America’s premier Latino civil rights leaders, from birth to present. The book also transcends the singular story of Yzaguirre to include the history of Latino politics, struggles of Mexican Americans and stories of family, long-time friends, community leaders, legislators and many others who impacted Yzaguirres’s life.
Duarte describes her work as, “A great man's life told.” She was approached in 2010 by Yzaguirre to do a project in Texas, which consisted of a series of interviews. “It was at that point that the idea for the biography came up,” she says. After that, Duarte conducted over 40 interviews and several trips to be able to write comprehensive story. “Weaving the life of a man with the iconic stature of Raul Yzaguirre was a formidable task,” she says. Her challenge was to “get it right. Doing justice to Raul’s life.”
To Duarte, writing Yzaguirre’s life was an honor. “Raul is an example of what it means to dedicate oneself to the service of others,” she says. “He not only led a floundering organization in 1974, NCLR [National Council of La Raza, the largest constituency-based, national Latino organization in American history], to become the most powerful civil rights, constituency-based, Latino organization in U.S. history, but he took time to mentor so many people, and to speak before Congress, and take on U.S. presidents on behalf of his beloved Latino community.” The book was published in November 2016 and Duarte says she's happy that the biography will secure Yzaguirre’s life as a part of American history for generations to come.
December 1, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
Crescent Crown Distributing
1640 W. Broadway Rd., Mesa
About the author: Stella Pope Duarte is an Irish-Latina writer, who is very active in the literary community. She teaches creative writing to audiences of all ages and participates in writing events, conferences, keynotes, workshops, and others. Her topics are focused on women’s rights, culture, diversity and Chicano/Latino history. Some of her awards include: the American Book Award, Arizona Book of the Year and creative writing fellowship by the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Born and raised in the Sonorita Barrio in Phoenix, Duarte started her writing journey in 1995, inspired by a prophetic dream of her father. Her works include: Fragile Night, Let Their Spirits Dance, If I Die in Juarez, Women Who Live in Coffee Shops and Other Stories, Writing Through Revelations, Visions and Dreams: The memoir of a writer’s soul. Her writing philosophy, “To tell a good story…always, no matter what the subject, the heart of writing is a good story.”
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