Tomás Rivera, a writer, educator, and university
administrator, was born in Texas in 1935 to a Mexican American family of
migrant workers. As a boy, Rivera and his family followed the stream of
migrant workers from Texas to the Midwest and back. Most of his writings
tell of the difficult lives of these workers, but they also celebrate the
strength and resilience of this community.
|With permission from Concepcion G. Rivera
Rivera was an avid reader and writer all his life, though his formal education
was uneven until high school. Surmounting years of obstacles, he received
a bachelor's degree in education, then went on to earn a master's in education
and a Ph.D. in Spanish literature. During this time, he published extensively
and wrote his classic novel. ...y no se lo tragó la tierra
(...And the Earth Did Not Devour Him), for which he received the
Quinto Sol Award in 1971. He is also the author of numerous short stories
and poetry. Rivera served in a number of administrative posts at the university
level, becoming chancellor of the University of California, Riverside in
1979. He died in 1984 after a life of public service. Rivera was instrumental
in the formation of the Tomás Rivera Institute for Public Policy
on Chicanos in Higher Education, at Pomona College. Posthumously, the board
of regents of the University of Texas established the Tomás Rivera
Professorship in Spanish Language and Literature, and the University of
California, Riverside named a plaza in his honor.
Evangelina Vigil-Piñón is a writer, poet,
and translator. She has written numerous books and, most notably for this
workshop, she translated the late Tomás Rivera's classic novel, ...y
no se lo tragó la tierra (...And the Earth Did Not Devour
Him). Since 1982, she has taught courses in U.S. Hispanic literature
at the University of Houston as adjunct lecturer in the English Department.
She is also an experienced television journalist, currently working with
ABC-KTRK TV in Houston. There, she serves as public affairs director; producer
of Asian and Latino affairs programs; and host of a signature feature, "Latin
Beat," spotlighting Latino entertainment and cultural diversity.
Works by the Author