Not From Here, Not From There
by Nelson A. Diaz
Raised in the squalor of a New York tenement until he was 10 years old, Nelson Díaz saw his life change when his family moved to a brand new West Harlem high-rise project in the 1950s. Throughout his life, that experience, coupled with lessons learned as the only Latino student in his class at Temple University Law School, would drive him as a lawyer and an activist in his fight for the expansion of rights for all Americans. No soy de aquí ni de allá is a mantra for Puerto Ricans, who feel accepted neither here nor there and seek a place in society. In his inspiring autobiography,
Not from Here, Not from There, Díaz tells the story of his struggles and triumphs as his perspective widened from the New York streets to law school classrooms and the halls of power in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Whether as a leader in economic development, a pioneer in court reform, or a champion of fair housing, Díaz never stopped advocating for others. He was happy to become the first Latino to “do something,” but he never wanted to be the last. This story of an outsider who worked his way to the inside offers powerful lessons on finding a place in the world by creating spaces where everyone is welcome.
About the author
After graduating from St. John’s University in 1969 and from Temple University Law School in 1972, Nelson A. Díaz became the first Puerto Rican lawyer to pass the Pennsylvania bar examination and the first Latino judge, administrative judge, and partner in a top-100 law firm in the state. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter to a White House Fellowship and by President Bill Clinton as general counsel to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, he has served as a public defender, as Philadelphia city solicitor, and as a member of several corporate boards—including Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 100 company—during his legendary career. His fight for civil and human rights and his promotion of neighborhood economic development and judicial and housing reform have paved the way for others. Díaz lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Sara Manzano-Díaz.