Julian Nava is one of the most renowned and distinguished elder statesmen in the Hispanic community of the United States. The child of poor Mexican immigrants, Nava rose through years of hardship and hard work to achieve what no other Latino in the United States had achieved before him: Nava became the first Mexican American to serve as ambassador to Mexico.
This unforeseen but deserved appointment by President Jimmy Carter followed a life of commitment to his education and that of his community. Nava was a civil rights activist during the height of the Chicano Movement; he also became the first Mexican American to serve on the Los Angeles school board when it was embattled, facing the challenges of school walkouts and boycotts, desegregation, bilingual education, and a series of issues brought on by the changes in education during the 1970s.
The recipient of a Ph.D. in History from Harvard, Nava has been on the front-lines of urban education and politics, while simultaneously building a successful career as a university professor celebrated throughout the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Spain. Nava’s previously untold story is finally available to inspire people young and old toward study, commitment and perseverance, not only for one’s self, but for the community and nation.