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Finding Aid for the Michelle Kholos Brooks Collection of Manazar Gamboa Papers 1939-2001
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Collection Overview
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This collection consists of Chicano poet Manazar Gamboa's manuscripts, plays, poems, writing notes, and his written experiences of growing up in Chavez Ravine.
Born in East L.A. in 1934 and raised in Chavez Ravine, Manazar Gamboa spent his youth picking crops with his family across the Central and San Fernando Valley. As one of the first Latino students to attend Nightingale Junior High in Cypress Park he rebelled against school authorities by speaking Spanish. He also began to sell marijuana and steal cars. In 1954 he began his first prison term and would spend 17 of the next 23 years behind bars. In the 1970's Gamboa became a heroin addict and shortly after the woman he loved overdosed and died in his arms. He then committed an armed robbery and was sent to Soledad State Prison. In Soledad he began to read any literature available to him taking a particular interest in poetry. Despite the derision of his fellow inmates he avidly read the work of the Romantics: Shelley, Keats, Coleridge and Blake. Gamboa was given the complete works of Shakespeare which he regarded as his greatest treasure. He began to write poetry and was published by a journal run by a University of Colorado professor. In 1977 Gamboa was released and joined the L.A. poetry scene by working at Beyond Baroque, a literary center in Venice and edited its magazine Obras. From 1981 to 1983 he was the Director of the L.A Latino Writers Association and editor of ChismeArte magazine. In the 1980's he began teaching writing workshops for substance abusers, youths in juvenile halls and prison inmates often driving over 120 miles a day to teach literacy and writing to youths across the county. In 1988 he received a Brody Arts Fund for $2500 and replaced his 1963 Dodge. In 1989 he became the Artistic Director of the Homeland Neighborhood Cultural Center. He turned his epic poem "Memories of a Bulldozed Barrio" into a stage performance and worked with the non-profit L.A Theater works for over 13 years. He died in Long Beach at age 66 on Dec. 13, 2000.
4.5 feet
Collection is open for research.To view the collection or any part of it, please contact the CSRC at http://www.chicano.ucla.edu/