A native of the West-Side barrios of San Antonio, Texas, Tafolla was
told by her junior high principal that she had potential to make it all
the way to high school. She did, and followed it with a B.A. in 1972, an
M.A. in 1973, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, in 1982.
In 1973, she became Director of the Mexican-American Studies Center at
Texas Lutheran College where she initiated, among other projects, the El
Premio Roberto Salinas Award to recognize students who have worked to promote
human understanding and cultural harmony.
Tafolla has held numerous faculty and administrative positions at universities
throughout the Southwest, including Associate Professor of Women’s
Studies at California State University Fresno and Special Assistant to
the President for Cultural Diversity Programming at Northern Arizona University.
She has been the recipient of many honors, including Outstanding Young
Women of America, Foremost Women of the Twentieth Century, and the Dictionary
of International Biography. Called by Roots author Alex Haley
a world-class writer, Tafolla has been recognized by the National Association
for Chicano Studies for her outstanding contributions to the arts and academia
through literature that has depicted and given voice to our communities.
In 1999, the President’s Peace Commission of St. Mary’s University
selected her for its Art of Peace Award for writing which promotes peace,
justice and human understanding.
Dr. Carmen Tafolla is an internationally acclaimed writer and educational
consultant. A poet, author, and sought-after speaker and performer, she
has published five books of poetry, eight children’s picture books,
seven television screenplays, one non-fiction volume, and a collection
of short stories, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans. In addition,
she co-authored with filmographer Sylvia Morales a feature-length film
comedy entitled REAL MEN... and other miracles. Her works are
archived at the University of Texas Benson Latin American Collection.