Richard Rodriguez (b. 1944)

American essayist and educator. Born in San Francisco to Mexican American immigrant parents, Rodriguez learned to speak English in a Catholic grammar school in Sacramento, California, and went on to earn a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. from Columbia University. Once a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of California at Berkeley, Rodriguez opted instead to pursue his own path as a teacher, journalist, and author. He now works for the Pacific News Service and is a regular guest on PBS NewsHour. In Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982), he recounts his sometimes painful assimilation into mainstream American society. His second book, Days of Obligation: A Letter to My Mexican Father (1992), further explores the tensions between his Mexican and his American selves. His most recent book is Brown: The Last Discovery of America (2002). See also pbs.org.