An important figure in Boston Latino and Hispanic culture and education, Dr. Ángel Amy Moreno, 69, died on Aug. 20 of cancer at his home in Jamaica Plain.
He was one of the first Puerto Ricans to sit on the Boston School Committee, a professor at Roxbury Community College for 30 years, and a photographer whose work appeared in a hundred shows and galleries in Boston; Madrid; Cuzco, Peru; and Puerto Rico.
While a leader with good political skills, he is best known for teaching a wide variety of topics in his native Spanish, from sociology and psychology to Latin American and Caribbean history and photography, as a professor at Roxbury Community College. He joined the Social Science and Humanities faculty at RCC at the beginning of the college’s second year. Dr. Amy Moreno earned two doctorates after he arrived in Boston: an Ed.D. in bilingual education and a history Ph.D. focused on the interaction of Spanish culture with the native Americans’ 16th century cultures in Colombia and Peru.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Spain’s King Juan Carlos I proclaimed and vested Dr. Amy Moreno as the Marquis of Arecibo, a city with family and professional connections in his native Puerto Rico, for his leadership both in Puerto Rico as well as in Boston in education and the arts.
According to a former colleague at Roxbury Community College, Dr. Robert Krim, “He reached Boston residents, particularly Latino residents, with his service as well as his work as both an artistic and a news photographer.”
Born in Isla Verde, then on the outskirts of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ángel Amy Moreno came to Boston in 1974, the first year of school desegregation busing. He was part of fairly small Puerto Rican community that was growing quickly. While working on his two doctorates at Boston University as well as teaching full-time at Roxbury Community College, he was known quite widely for his ability to draw from photos and art in bringing together, Latino music, art and politics as few could.
His involvements were diverse and wide-ranging. In music, he served on the board of Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. In politics, he was elected numerous times to the local Democratic ward committee. In literature and the arts, he was a founding member of the Hispanic Writers Task Force and the chief photographer of the Boston Puerto Rican Festival. He was a columnist and photographer for Boston’s Spanish language newspaper, El Mundo. He spoke six languages.
According to his wife, Ana Cordero Amy, “Angel filled our home with culture and life. Our children were always exposed to music, dance, literature, language and art. His passions had a way of permeating all those around him.”
He taught as a visiting professor at a number of universities including Boston University, Northeastern University, Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Lesley University, Bridgewater State University and the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo.
His community board service included: Spanish Dance Theatre (Boston); Search Committee, Executive Director Boston Public Library; Board Chair, Oficina Hispana de la Cuminidad; Jamaica Plain Arts Council; State Board of Affirmative Action; Founding member, El Jolgorio Puertorriqueno de Massachusetts; and Commission for the Celebration of the 500 Anniversary of the Discovery of America and Puerto Rico.
Ángel Amy Moreno’s roots are deep in Boston. His grandfather came to Boston and lived here in the 1880s as one of a handful of Puerto Ricans dwelled in Eastern Massachusetts. His grandfather went back the island after the end of the Spanish-American War.
He leaves his wife, Ana Cordero Amy of Jamaica Plain; his sisters, Maria A. Amy Moreno and Maria T. Amy Moreno; his daughter, Denise Amy Cordero Goldstein of Newton; his son, Alberto Amy-Cordero of Boston; and his late son, Juan Carlos Amy-Cordero. He also leaves his grandaughter, Isabel Goldstein.
His memorial service will be held on Weds., Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. in St. Patrick’s Church, 44 E. Central St., Natick, Mass. His funeral service will be on Fri., Sept. 19, 10 a.m. in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain.