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Herman Badillo, Mayor Lindsay and Transit Police, New York City, c. 1960s

Mayor Lindsay marching with Herman Badillo and Transit Police

Mayor Lindsay marching with Herman Badillo and Transit Police

New York City Municipal Archives, NYCMA_JVL_24
Document Description
Photograph of Puerto Rican politician Herman Badillo marching with New York City Mayor John Lindsay [on his right] and the Transit Police down Fifth Avenue in a New York City Parade, ca. 1960s.
Where are the people marching to?
What event might they be celebrating?
How are they dressed?
Why are they carrying flags?
Why would Hispanic onlookers be proud to see Herman Badillo marching next to New York City’s mayor?
Historical Challenges
Research Herman Badillo’s achievements while in Congress or City Hall. Mention at least three specific laws or measures that he sponsored.
Make a list of other Hispanics who were elected to office in New York City. What offices did they hold? When were they elected? What was their political party?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Find out the number of Hispanics who lived in New York City in the 1960s and 1970s. Create a bar graph and compare to today.
English Language Arts: Write a press release about the events on the day of the parade.
Badillo, Herman. One Nation, One Standard: An Ex-Liberal on How Hispanics Can Succeed Just Like Other Immigrant Groups. Sentinel, 2006.

Historical Context
Herman Badillo came to New York City from Caguas, Puerto Rico as a young boy after his parents died of tuberculosis. Determined to succeed, he was an excellent student who went on to graduate first in his class from Brooklyn Law School.  Entering politics, he served as New York City’s housing preservation and development commissioner before becoming Bronx borough president in 1966.    

When he was elected to Congress in 1970, he became the first Puerto Rican-born congressman to represent a district in the continental United States. While in Congress, Badillo became a champion of federal funding for bilingual education and promoted a voting rights act with the inclusion of language access provisions.  Later on in his political career, however, he changed his views and opposed bilingual education as an obstacle to successful assimilation.

Although Badillo became deputy mayor and president of the City University of New York’s board of trustees, he never fulfilled his dream of becoming the city’s first Hispanic mayor, despite several campaigns.  Switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party, Badillo alienated a portion of his Hispanic political base.  He began to advocate more conservative solutions to educational and social problems, emphasizing self-help and a stronger work ethic.

Essential Question
How political leaders influence a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the significance of this document in encouraging civic participation by new immigrants.