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Journalist, essayist, translator and professor. Colorado worked as a writer and manager at Puerto Rican newspapers such as El Imparcial and El Diario de Puerto Rico. His essays, which appeared in magazines and in books he wrote, addressed topics of history, politics and Puerto Rican identity. In the field of education, he translated from English several of the texts that were used in the island’s schools.

Antonio J. Colorado was born in San Juan in 1903. After earning a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Puerto Rico in 1931, he moved to Massachusetts where, in 1932, he earned a master’s in arts degree. In 1934, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Madrid in Spain.

Upon returning to Puerto Rico, he began to work as a journalist. At El Imparcial, he was both a contributor and a manager. The first manifestations of the literary movement known as “noísmo” or “Grupo No,” of which Colorado was a participant, appeared in the pages of the daily newspaper. The movement’s philosophical principle was questioning, denying and opposing the existing social system, as well as a literary renewal based on rawness and simplicity. Vicente Palés Matos, Vicente Géigel Polanco, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Antonio Paniagua Picazo, Cesáreo Rosa Nieves, Tomás L. Batista and Jorge Pastor, among others, were part of this movement.

Other publications to which he contributed include Asomante, Cuadernos Americanos, Escuela, El Mundo, Puerto Rico Ilustrado, Semana, La Torre, Revista de la Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico and the magazine Indice, which had an editorial mission of defining Puerto Rican identity through analysis of the past and projections of the future.

In the early 1940s, he began to work as a professor of the recently created Faculty of Social Sciences. Later, he became director of the University Press. In 1948, he became director of the Diario de Puerto Rico, for which he was also an editorial writer, preparing in-depth articles for the newspaper. He won the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature’s journalism prize (1949) for his journalistic work for this newspaper.

In the early 1950s, he became director of the publications office of the Department of Public Education. During his incumbency, he wrote books that were used in the public school system: Puerto Rico y tú (1952) and Noticia y pulso del movimiento político puertorriqueño de 1898 a 1952 (1955), the latter in collaboration with historian Lidio Cruz Monclova. He also wrote an English textbook, The First Book of Puerto Rico (1965).

In the field of translation, he is known for serving as the regional director of the Translation Division of the United States State Department. While he worked in the Department of Public Education, he also translated from English textbooks that were used in the island’s schools, such as A History of Our Country (Breve historia de los EE. UU. de América in the Spanish version) by David S. Muzzey (1953) and Our World (Nuestro mundo a través de las edades in the Spanish version) by N. Platt and M. J. Drummond (1959). Other translations include the children’s books The Green Song (1956) and The Violet Tree (1964) by Doris Troutman Plenn.

Most of Colorado’s essays were published in the periodicals for which he wrote. Like many other writers of his era, he wrote essays characterized by a marked concern with interpreting and redefining the social, cultural and political aspects of Puerto Rican identity. His prose is lively and, on occasion, ironic. He also wrote essays of literary criticism in which he analyzed the work of island writers such as Julia de Burgos, Nemesio Canales and Luis Palés Matos. Other prose works of his include Puerto Rico: la tierra y otros ensayos (1972), Democracia y socialismo: dos ensayos políticos and Semblanzas de ayer y de hoy, both published in 1990.

Colorado was a follower of the populist ideas of Luis Muñoz Marín, whom he knew personally. When the Popular Democratic Party was founded in the late 1930s, it was Colorado who designed the party’s official insignia, which consists of the profile of a rural worker wearing a traditional hat.

Antonio J. Colorado died on February 16, 1994, in San Juan. His son, Antonio J. Colorado Laguna, was also an active member of the Popular Democratic Party and served as resident commissioner in Washington from 1990 to 1992.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 16, 2014.

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