Nelson A. Diaz

Cindy Seip

Nelson A. Díaz, who graduated from St. John’s University in 1969 and from Temple University Law School in 1972, was 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 had a legendary career serving as a public defender, as Philadelphia City Solicitor, and as a member of several corporate boards. His fight for civil and human rights and his promotion of neighborhood economic development and housing reform have blazed a trail for other Latinos. “No soy de aquí ni de allá” is a mantra for Puerto Ricans who feel like foreigners wherever they are and who seek a place for themselves. In his inspiring autobiography, Not from Here, Not from There/No Soy de Aquí ni de Allá: The Autobiography of Nelson Díaz (Temple University Press) Diaz tells the story of his struggles and triumphs as his perspective widened from the New York streets and law school classrooms to the halls of power in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. 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.