Date of Birth:

August 6, 1954, Mission District, San Francisco, CA


Social Justice & Community


Lorna Dee Cervantes is one of the greatest figures in Chicano poetry. A fifth generation Californian, Cervantes was born in 1954 in the Mission District of San Francisco, to parents of Mexican and Native American (Chumash) ancestry. From the age of five, she was raised by her grandmother in San José. Cervantes grew up speaking English exclusively — strictly enforced by her family who wanted to avoid the racism that was occurring in her community at that time. This loss of language and a struggle to find her identity inspired her poetry later in life. She attended Abraham Lincoln High School. Cervantes received an Associate Arts degree from San José Community College in 1976, and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Arts from San José State University in 1984.

Headshot Photo Credit:
Arte Público Press


Yolanda Guerra