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Denver-based Chicano civil rights leader honored with Google Doodle

Rodolfo 'Corky' Gonzales was also an educator, boxer and poet who founded the nation's first private school with a focus on Chicano and Mexican-American culture.

DENVER — An influential Denver-based leader in the Chicano civil rights movement is being honored with a Google Doodle through Friday.

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales was also an educator, boxer and poet in addition to his activism.

In 1970, Gonzales and his family founded Escuela Tlatelolco Centro de Estudios, the first private school in United States history that focused on Chicano and Mexican-American cultural studies.

"Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, my father brought the world to my family and our people," said his son Rudy Gonzales, who is the executive director of Servicios de La Raza in Denver. "Thank you, Google, for bringing the world to him."

Gonzales said he and his family were first approached about the project in 2018. That's when he told his mom and Corky's wife, Geraldine Gonzales, Google wanted to honor his dad.

"My mom she was that lioness...very protective of her beloved husband and her family and her first comments were 'well, it’s about time'," Gonzales said his mother passed away in July 2020. 

"She was very excited to hopefully see this, but it is happening now and I know they both see it." 

Google also published a behind the scenes look at the creation of Gonzales' doodle. 

"I hope [people] take away an understanding and a knowledge and understanding of who this man was. He was an incredible spirit who walked among us, who came to develop into someone who was a fearless leader," Gonzales said. 

RELATED: Colorado high schooler wins 'Doodle for Google' contest

The doodle and an accompanying slideshow were illustrated by Brooklyn-based Latina guest artist Roxie Vizcarra, Google said.

"She did an amazing job," Gonzales said. "This doodle really makes me very proud, it’s a beautiful day to be Chicano and Indigenous." 

The slideshow depicts Gonzales' life while featuring lines from his 1967 poem "Yo Soy Joaquin," which was a rallying cry for the Chicano movement.

The doodle went live at 10 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday and will stay up for 24 hours.

There is also a page dedicated to the life of the Chicano activist on the Google Arts and Cultural page that is permanent. You can find that here. The page features pictures, audio interviews, and videos of Corky Gonzales and his family. 

Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales died in 2005 at the age of 76.

RELATED: Colorado middle school student wins 'Doodle for Google' contest

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