Raúl H. Yzaguirre
Civil rights leader
Born: San Juan, Texas

Raúl Yzaguirre is a widely recognized civil rights leader and an instrumental national advocate for Hispanic Americans. For nearly three decades, he has served as president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation's largest constituency-based Hispanic organization.

“Very early on I made two decisions - to be able to say that I made the world a little better, and to never be mean. ‘Courteousness doesn't preclude courage' is a saying I've found very useful and beautiful.”

Yzaguirre began his civil rights career at 15 when he organized the American G.I. Forum Juniors. In 1964, he founded the National Organization for Mexican American Services which led to NCLR's creation. In 1969, he founded I.R.A., the first Mexican American research association which evolved into a multi-million dollar non-profit consulting firm.

“I'm proud to be a Latino.The more I've learned about my heritage, the prouder I've become. But I started out wanting to be a good human being, a good American.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Raúl H. Yzaguirre, civil rights leader. Photograph by Héctor Méndez-Caratini, taken at the Council of La Raza, Washington , D.C.

Raúl H. Yzaguirre, civil rights leader. Photograph by Héctor Méndez-Caratini, taken at the National Council of La Raza, Washington, D.C.

 

Yzaguirre has led NCLR since 1974, transforming it into one of the most respected and influential Hispanic organizations in the country.

“I grew up vulnerable and politically powerless, so I wanted to help build an institution that had credibility, stature, and resources, an institution that would represent a voice for our community. That's what I had hoped to achieve, and that's what we have achieved.”

 

 

 

 


 

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