By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 50 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Jose Feliciano

Born totally blind in 1945 in Puerto Rico, Jose Feliciano moved with his family to Spanish Harlem at age 5. Facing poverty and discrimination, he devoted himself to music, mastering the guitar by age 9. Seven years later, he quit school to perform full-time as a means to help support his family. He enjoyed his first success with the release of his Spanish albums. In 1968, his English album “Feliciano” caught hold and soared to No. 2 on the pop charts. With more than 40 gold and platinum albums and three Grammy Awards, Feliciano is forever enshrined for his 1971 mega-hit “Feliz Navidad” (I Wanna Wish You A Merry Christmas). Feliciano and his music will be remembered for lifetimes to come.