Back to top

Papers of Latina Activist, Carmen A. Pola, Available for Research

Monday, February 1, 2010
Archives and Special Collections Department
archives [at]
(617) 373-2351
Archives and Special Collections

Papers of Latina Activist, Carmen A. Pola, Available for Research

Carmen Pola and Mayor Ray Flynn view a report in the Mayor's office, ca. 1986.

Community activist Carmen A. Pola was born Carmen A. Villanueva Garcia in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico in 1939. In 1955, she moved to the continental United States with her family, settling briefly in the Bronx, New York, before moving to Oakland, California. While in California, Pola became involved in community activism, participating in a number of grassroots organizations concerned with education and youth activism, including La Raza Educators and young Catholic Workers. In 1972, the Pola family relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, settling in the neighborhood of Mission Hill. Pola quickly became involved in community activism in a number of ways. In 1975, she was coordinator of the Festival Puertorriqueño (Puerto Rican Festival), held annually in Boston since 1967. From 1977 to 1980, Pola was the coordinator of the Community District I Advisory Council (CDAC), part of the Citywide Parents Advisory Council (CPAC), Inc., which operated from 1974-2004 under the court-mandated desegregation of Boston Public Schools (Morgan v. Hennigan). Pola was also involved in the Bilingual Masters Parents Advisory Council which oversaw the implementation of the Voluntary Lau Compliance Plan, a 1979 agreement that outlined the responsibilities of the Boston Public Schools in providing education to bilingual students.

The 16 cubic feet of materials date from 1970-2006 and document Pola's work with the Puerto Rican Festival, the Boston Public Schools, the Project to Monitor the Code of Discipline, Mayor Raymond Flynn's Administration, and Roxbury Unites for Families and Children. The collection includes photographs, correspondence, grant proposals and reports, surveys, charts, organizational records, legal materials, political campaign literature, catalogs, booklets, and meeting minutes.

The Carmen A. Pola papers are open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. A guide to the collection is available online at:

Archival Collections