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Carmen A. Pola papers

 Collection
Identifier: M159

Scope and Content Note

The Carmen A. Pola papers document Pola's community activism in the Boston area from the early 1970s into the first decade of the 21st century. The bulk of the papers are related to her community organizing on issues involving the Boston Public Schools, including bilingual education, and services for minority children and families, including mental health services, through such organizations as the Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council, City Wide Parents Advisory Council, Roxbury Unites for Families and Children, and the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. The documentation of these organizations includes correspondence, memoranda, grant proposals and reports, organizational records, legal materials, political campaign literature, and publications. A smaller portion of the collections relates to Pola's term of service in Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn's administration and includes records of the 1983 election campaign, and Pola's dealings with staff and constituents. The collection also documents the Puerto Rican Festival and contains a substantial number of photographs documenting public and private events, including Boston's Puerto Rican Festival and family gatherings. The collection has been arranged in eight series: 1. Personal, 2. Activism, 3. Puerto Rican Festival, 4. Boston Public Schools, 5. Massachusetts Advocacy Center, Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, 6. Raymond Flynn Administration, 7. Roxbury Unites for Families and Children, and 8. Audio / Visual Material.

Dates

  • 1970-2006 (bulk 1975-2000)

Creator

Language of Materials

Collection is primarily in English with some material in Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is mainly unrestricted; records identifying specific students are restricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Biographical Note

Carmen A. Pola was born Carmen A. Villanueva Garcia in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, in 1939. In 1955, she immigrated to the continental United States with her family, settling briefly in the Bronx, New York, before moving to Oakland, California, where the family worked in agriculture. In 1960 she married Juan Pola during the next twelve years, the couple had four children. While in California, Carmen Pola became involved in community activism, participating in a number of grassroots organizations, particularly in the areas of education and youth activism, such as La Raza Educators and Young Catholic Workers.

In 1972, the Pola family relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, settling in the neighborhood of Mission Hill. Carmen Pola quickly became involved in community activism. She helped organize tenants in Mission Hill and coordinated a class action lawsuit, Perez v. Boston Housing Authority, in an attempt to force the city to comply with existing sanitary codes. She was also one of the plaintiffs named in a lawsuit brought by the Parent's Committee for Defense of Bilingual Education (Comité de Padres pro Defensa de la Educación Bilingüe), Morgan v. Kerrigan, in response to desegregation policies that threatened the viability of bilingual education programs in the Boston Public School system. In 1975, she served as coordinator of the annual Puerto Rican Festival (Festival Puertorriqueño), held in Boston since 1967.

From 1977 to 1980, Pola was the coordinator of the Community District I Advisory Council, part of the Citywide Parents Advisory Council, Inc, which operated from 1974-2004 as part of the court-mandated desegregation of Boston Public Schools (Morgan v. Hennigan). These councils operated at a city-wide (CPAC), district (CDAC), and school level (REPC). In addition, Pola participated in the Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council, involved in overseeing the implementation of the Voluntary Lau Compliance Plan, a 1979 agreement that outlined the responsibilities of the Boston Public School system in providing education to bilingual students.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Pola also completed her undergraduate education and worked toward her master's in urban planning at Tufts University.

From December 1980 to June 1983, Pola directed the Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline at the Massachusetts Advocacy Center (now known as Massachusetts Advocates for Children), a non-profit organization focusing on the needs of children in the Commonwealth. The Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline was a federally-funded program to oversee the city-wide implementation of the 1980 Code of Discipline, a set of uniform rules and regulations enacted by the Boston School Committee to counteract the high rate of suspensions involving minority students.

In 1980 Pola became the first Latina to run for statewide office, running unsuccessfully for state representative of Suffolk County's 17th District (Jamaica Plain-Mission Hill). Following her campaign, she worked as a liaison to the Hispanic community during Raymond Flynn's successful bid in the 1983 race to be Boston's mayor. Following Flynn's inauguration in January, 1984, Pola was one of Flynn's first appointees, chosen to serve as the director of the newly-formed Office of Constituent Services and later as senior advisor on human needs until resigning in October 1986.

After leaving City government Pola returned to community-based activism. In 1994 she helped found Roxbury Unites for Families and Children, Inc., a local organization initially funded by a four-year, $2.8 million grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a pilot project focused on providing mental health services to children and youth. The organization worked closely with the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. She also provided professional consultation for, and served on the boards of non-profit organizations, including the National Association for Families with Basic Needs, The Carter Center, United Nations, National Association for Bilingual Educators, Massachusetts Association of Bilingual Educators, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, and Project Life. Pola founded La Raza en Marcha, Boston and Hispanic Family Mental Health Program (Boston), and she was chair of the Harvard Community Health Plan, Mission Hill Representative for the Harvard Board of Directors, member of Hispanic Office of Planning and Evaluation, vice chair of the Mayor's Committee on Hispanic Affairs, founder of Spanish Cultural Program on Mental health, member (appointed by Judge Arthur Garrity) Citywide Coordinating Council on Education, member of the Manpower training Act Advisory Council (appointed by Mayor Kevin White), chair of the Ethnic Linguistic Minorities Committee, and member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of the Washington Business Group.

Pola is the recipient of many awards, including a 1976 Governor's award for service to the minority community in Boston during the Dukakis Administration, and a 1984 National Conference of Puerto Rican Women citation in recognition of outstanding volunteerism in voter registration.

Chronology

  • 1939 Carmen A. Villaneuva Garcia born on May 1 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
  • 1954-55 Attends University of Puerto Rico.
  • 1955 Pola's family moves to the Bronx, New York, then to Oakland, California.
  • 1956-59 Member of Young Catholic Workers, St. Mary's Church, Oakland, California.
  • 1957-58 Attends Merritt college, Oakland, California.
  • 1957-62 Plans and develops first community health center in the U.S., West Oakland Health Center, Oakland, California.
  • 1957-60 Works as farm worker, Napa Valley, Napa, California.
  • 1961 Marries Juan Pola in Oakland, California; eventually has five children.
  • 1965-66 Vice president and national representative of La Raza Unida party, California Chapter.
  • 1965-68 Works as Community Organizer, Inner City Project, Oakland, California.
  • 1967 Organizes La Raza Educators, the first Latino professional organization in Oakland, California.
  • 1967-72 Works as Community Relations Specialist, Division of Community Services, Laney Community College, Oakland, California.
  • 1971 First bilingual school in Boston, Rafael Hernandez School, founded.
  • 1971 Moves with family to Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1971-72 Serves as counselor at Cardinal Cushing Center, Boston.
  • 1971-75 Organizes Mission Hill Main Housing Project.
  • 1972-73 Serves as Director of the National Alliance of Businessmen for the Manpower Program, Cardinal Cushing Center in Boston.
  • 1973-74 Serves as Assistant Director of the Mission Hill / Fenway Area Planning Action Council of Action for Boston Community Development.
  • 1974 Establishes La Raza en Marcha, Boston, the first Latino grassroots organization in Massachusetts.
  • 1974 Morgan v. Kerrigan lawsuit filed against Boston Public Schools for failure to successfully integrate the school system.
  • 1974-78? Organizes Perez v. Boston Housing Authority class action lawsuit to provide decent public housing.
  • 1975 Comité de Padres pro Defensa de la Educación Bilingüe (The Parent's Committee for the Defense of Bilingual Education), in which Pola is involved, is recognized as interveners in Morgan v. Kerrigan as they seek to protect bilingual education programs in the city. Is President of La Raza; elected president of Boston's Puerto Rican Festival.
  • 1975-76 Attends Tufts University Continuing Education Program.
  • 1976 Receives citation from Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mike Dukakis.
  • 1977-80 Serves as Coordinator, Community District I Advisory Council (Brighton, Fenway, and Mission Hill), Boston Public Schools.
  • 1978-80 Serves as Chairperson, Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council, Boston Public Schools.
  • 1980 Is candidate for state representative in Boston's 17th Suffolk District; loses election.
  • 1980-81 Is member of the Hispanic Task Force, City of Boston.
  • 1980-82 Serves as Co-Chair, Citywide Parent Advisory Council, Boston.
  • 1980-83 Serves as Director of the Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, Massachusetts Advocacy Center.
  • 1982 Served as Chair, the School Committee of the City of Boston.
  • 1983 Liaison to the Hispanic community for Raymond Flynn's campaign for Boston City Mayor.
  • 1983-84 Attends Masters Program in Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University.
  • 1984 Is plaintiff in Latino Political Action Committee v. Boston.
  • 1984-85 Serves as first director of the Office of Constituent Services, Flynn Administration.
  • 1985 Named as senior advisor on human needs, Flynn Administration.
  • 1986 Oct Resigns position as senior advisor on human needs.
  • 1988 Nelson Merced become first Puerto Rican and first Latino elected to statewide office.
  • 1991 Is appointed to Action for Boston Community Development Parker Hill / Fenway Board of Directors; joins Project Life's Board of Directors (to reduce infant mortality rate in Boston's minority communities); founds Blacks and Latinas Together.
  • 1993 Becomes president of the Board of Directors of Project Life; becomes treasurer for the Casey Initiative Board of Directors; becomes member of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Festival and coordinator of the Park Committee.
  • 1994 Roxbury Unites for Families and Children receives $2.8 million grant for a pilot project providing mental health services to children in Roxbury and Mission Hill.
  • 1994 Is elected president of the Latino Caucus and African American Caucus of mental health initiatives in the United States; becomes member of the Diversity Committee of the National Federation for Children of Special Needs; becomes member of the National Family Leadership Advisory Group of the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.
  • 1994-99 Serves as Board President, Roxbury Unites for Families and Children.
  • 1995 Becomes president of the Mission Hill Healthy Boston Coalition.
  • 2004 Receives citation from Mitt Romney, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
1939
Carmen A. Villaneuva Garcia born on May 1 in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
1954-55
Attends University of Puerto Rico.
1955
Pola's family moves to the Bronx, New York, then to Oakland, California.
1956-59
Member of Young Catholic Workers, St. Mary's Church, Oakland, California.
1957-58
Attends Merritt college, Oakland, California.
1957-62
Plans and develops first community health center in the U.S., West Oakland Health Center, Oakland, California.
1957-60
Works as farm worker, Napa Valley, Napa, California.
1961
Marries Juan Pola in Oakland, California; eventually has five children.
1965-66
Vice president and national representative of La Raza Unida party, California Chapter.
1965-68
Works as Community Organizer, Inner City Project, Oakland, California.
1967
Organizes La Raza Educators, the first Latino professional organization in Oakland, California.
1967-72
Works as Community Relations Specialist, Division of Community Services, Laney Community College, Oakland, California.
1971
First bilingual school in Boston, Rafael Hernandez School, founded.
1971
Moves with family to Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.
1971-72
Serves as counselor at Cardinal Cushing Center, Boston.
1971-75
Organizes Mission Hill Main Housing Project.
1972-73
Serves as Director of the National Alliance of Businessmen for the Manpower Program, Cardinal Cushing Center in Boston.
1973-74
Serves as Assistant Director of the Mission Hill / Fenway Area Planning Action Council of Action for Boston Community Development.
1974
Establishes La Raza en Marcha, Boston, the first Latino grassroots organization in Massachusetts.
1974
Morgan v. Kerrigan lawsuit filed against Boston Public Schools for failure to successfully integrate the school system.
1974-78?
Organizes Perez v. Boston Housing Authority class action lawsuit to provide decent public housing.
1975
Comité de Padres pro Defensa de la Educación Bilingüe (The Parent's Committee for the Defense of Bilingual Education), in which Pola is involved, is recognized as interveners in Morgan v. Kerrigan as they seek to protect bilingual education programs in the city. Is President of La Raza; elected president of Boston's Puerto Rican Festival.
1975-76
Attends Tufts University Continuing Education Program.
1976
Receives citation from Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mike Dukakis.
1977-80
Serves as Coordinator, Community District I Advisory Council (Brighton, Fenway, and Mission Hill), Boston Public Schools.
1978-80
Serves as Chairperson, Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council, Boston Public Schools.
1980
Is candidate for state representative in Boston's 17th Suffolk District; loses election.
1980-81
Is member of the Hispanic Task Force, City of Boston.
1980-82
Serves as Co-Chair, Citywide Parent Advisory Council, Boston.
1980-83
Serves as Director of the Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, Massachusetts Advocacy Center.
1982
Served as Chair, the School Committee of the City of Boston.
1983
Liaison to the Hispanic community for Raymond Flynn's campaign for Boston City Mayor.
1983-84
Attends Masters Program in Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University.
1984
Is plaintiff in Latino Political Action Committee v. Boston.
1984-85
Serves as first director of the Office of Constituent Services, Flynn Administration.
1985
Named as senior advisor on human needs, Flynn Administration.
1986 Oct
Resigns position as senior advisor on human needs.
1988
Nelson Merced become first Puerto Rican and first Latino elected to statewide office.
1991
Is appointed to Action for Boston Community Development Parker Hill / Fenway Board of Directors; joins Project Life's Board of Directors (to reduce infant mortality rate in Boston's minority communities); founds Blacks and Latinas Together.
1993
Becomes president of the Board of Directors of Project Life; becomes treasurer for the Casey Initiative Board of Directors; becomes member of the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rican Festival and coordinator of the Park Committee.
1994
Roxbury Unites for Families and Children receives $2.8 million grant for a pilot project providing mental health services to children in Roxbury and Mission Hill.
1994
Is elected president of the Latino Caucus and African American Caucus of mental health initiatives in the United States; becomes member of the Diversity Committee of the National Federation for Children of Special Needs; becomes member of the National Family Leadership Advisory Group of the Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health.
1994-99
Serves as Board President, Roxbury Unites for Families and Children.
1995
Becomes president of the Mission Hill Healthy Boston Coalition.
2004
Receives citation from Mitt Romney, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Extent

16 cubic feet (20 containers)

Overview

Community activist Carmen A. Pola was born Carmen A. Villanueva Garcia in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, in 1939. In 1955 she moved to the continental United States with her family, settling briefly in the Bronx, New York, before moving to Oakland, California, where the family worked in agriculture. In 1960 she married Juan Pola, and they have five children. While in California, Pola became involved in community activism, participating in a number of grassroots organizations concerned with education and youth activism, including La Raza Educators and young Catholic Workers. In 1972, the Pola family relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, settling in the neighborhood of Mission Hill. Pola quickly became involved in community activism, helping to organize tenants in Mission Hill and coordinating a class action lawsuit, Perez v. Boston Housing Authority, to force the City to comply with existing sanitary codes. She was also one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by the Parent's Committee for Defense of Bilingual Education (Comité de Padres pro Defensa del la Educación Bilingüe), Morgan v. Kerrigan, in response to desegregation policies that threatened the viability of bilingual education programs in the Boston Public Schools. In 1975 she was coordinator of the Festival Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Festival), held annually in Boston since 1967. From 1977 to 1980, Pola was the coordinator of the Community District I Advisory Council (CDAC), part of the Citywide Parents Advisory Council (CPAC), Inc., which operated from 1974-2004 under the court-mandated desegregation of Boston Public Schools (Morgan v. Hennigan). These councils operated at the city-wide (CPAC), district (CDAC), and school (Racial Ethnic Parent Councils (REPC)) levels. Pola was also involved in the Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council which oversaw the implementation of the Voluntary Lau Compliance Plan, a 1979 agreement that outlined the responsibilities of the Boston Public Schools in providing education to bilingual students.

Overview

The Carmen A. Pola papers document Pola’s community activism in the Boston area from the early 1970s into the first decade of the 21st century. The bulk of the papers are related to her community organizing on issues involving the Boston Public Schools, including bilingual education, and services for minority children and families, including mental health services, through such organizations as the Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council, City Wide Parents Advisory Council, Roxbury Unites for Families and Children, and the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. The documentation of these organizations includes correspondence, memoranda, grant proposals and reports, organizational records, legal materials, political campaign literature, and publications. A smaller portion of the collections relates to Pola’s term of service in Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn’s administration and includes records of the 1983 election campaign, and Pola’s dealings with staff and constituents. The collection also documents the Puerto Rican Festival and contains a substantial number of photographs documenting public and private events, including Boston’s Puerto Rican Festival and family gatherings. The collection has been arranged in eight series: 1. Personal, 2. Activism, 3. Puerto Rican Festival, 4. Boston Public Schools, 5. Massachusetts Advocacy Center, Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, 6. Raymond Flynn Administration, 7. Roxbury Unites for Families and Children, and 8. Audio / Visual Material.

System of Arrangement:

Organized into 8 series: 1. Personal, 2. Early Activism, 3. Puerto Rican Festival, 4. Boston Public Schools, 5. Massachusetts Advocacy Center: Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, 6. Raymond Flynn Administration, 7. Roxbury Unites for Families and Children, and 8. Audio / Visual Material.

Physical Location

56/3-4

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

This collection was the gift of Carmen A. Pola in two installments: 20 November 2006 and 12 June 2008.

Appraisal, Destruction, and Scheduling Information:

The material was boxed at Pola's home on Hillside Avenue. Some of the material was stored on the porch where it had been irretrievably contaminated by birds, so it could not be accessioned.

Bibliography

  • Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. http://www.ffcmh.org/index.html">http://www.ffcmh.org/index.html
  • Hardy-Fanta, Carol. Latina Politics, Latino Politics: Gender, Culture, and Political Participation in Boston. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1993. F73.9 S75 H37
  • Latino Political Action Committee, Inc. v. Boston. Civil Action No. 83-2472-C. U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. 28 February 1984.
  • Matos Rodriguez, Felix V. "Saving the Parcela: A Short History of Boston's Puerto Rican Community." In The Puerto-Rican Diaspora: Historical Perspectives. Carmen Teresa Whelan and Victor Vazquez-Hernandez, eds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005: 200-226. E184.P85 P76
  • Morgan v. Kerrigan. No. 74-1251. U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. 19 December 1974.
  • O'Connor, Thomas H. The Hub: Boston Past and Present. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2001. E73.3 O26
  • Parent/Professional Advocacy League (Mass. Chapt. Of FFCMH). http://ppal.net/default/.
  • Schabert, Tilo. Boston Politics: The Creativity of Power. New York : W. de Gruyter, 1989. JS608.S33
Title
Finding aid for the Carmen A. Pola Papers
Author
Finding aid prepared by Joan Krizack
Date
January 2010
Language of description
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
92 Snell Library
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US