[exhibit] “Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People” @ “Dia de San Juan Salsa Festival” // Newark.


First Public Viewing in 30-years at the 43rd Annual Puerto Rican Cultural Festival.

WHAT: A curated selection of the landmark documentary project, “Puerto Rican Diaspora: Themes in the Survival of a People,” will be displayed at “Dia de San Juan Salsa Festival” at the Swiss Park Newark. This event will offer a new generation of viewers a chance to experience this landmark project and connect with its beautiful, profound, and uplifting portrayal of Puerto Rican survival across the United States.

WHEN: Saturday, June 17, 2023, 11 am – 7 pm

WHERE: “Dia de San Juan Salsa Festival,” Swiss Park Newark, 5911 Mowry Ave Newark CA, 94560. [see flyer below].



In this interview, he speaks about the Puerto Rican Diaspora Documentary Project, and comments on a number of specific photographs.


NEWARK — From 1979 to 1981, the late Frank Espada, a pioneering Puerto Rican documentarian, conducted the largest review of the Puerto Rican migration.

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Espada, who was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico, in 1930 and later settled in San Francisco, traveled extensively, capturing the experiences of Puerto Rican migrants across the United States, from New York to Michigan, California, Hawai’i, and more.

This ambitious project resulted in 140 interviews and was showcased in exhibits across the country and Puerto Rico over a span of fifteen years. In 2007, a selection of the project was published in an award-winning book. Espada’s powerful photographs are now housed in prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.

By 1980, the Puerto Rican population in the U.S. had surpassed 2 million, and today it stands at over 6 million, while depopulation continues to affect the island. “The Puerto Rican Diaspora Project” offers a poignant portrayal of the widespread social experience of displacement and dislocation. In situations where words fail to capture the profound sense of loss and longing for home, art becomes a potent means of documenting the lives of marginalized communities.

Espada, an artist-activist driven by compassion and a commitment to social justice, harnessed the power of photography to effect change in the world, illuminate the shared humanity of individuals, and create a lasting legacy for the Puerto Rican community.

More Information or Interviews:
Event: Nicole Hernandez, (787) 292-9767,
Frank Espada Archive: Jason Espada, (415) 810-5696,


The Frank Espada Archive’s mission is to ensure that this beautiful and important work continues in this generation and for future generations of students and teachers.

Frank Espada (1930-2014) was iconic in Puerto Rican history, art, and education. His Puerto Rican Diaspora Documentary Project was unprecedented in scope, at once a celebration of our culture and a powerful political statement. Now more than ever, we need this kind of knowledge. The director of Eduardo Lopez called him ‘one of the most important Latino photographers of our time’ and wrote: For many years, Frank traveled to Puerto Rican communities throughout the country with his camera and produced a body of work of great artists, social, and cultural value.

Puerto Ricans In Action is an LA-based, fiscally sponsored 501c(3) community organization that is committed to organizing the Puerto Rican community, ensuring that our history is told and our culture and people prosper. Our goal is to be the central organizer for the Puerto Rican community in Los Angeles.

Puerto Ricans in Action
Instagram: @Los_Angeles_Boricuas
Twitter: @LA_Boricuas
Facebook: @Puertoricansinaction

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