Request Material

Sara J. González Papers

Sara J. González Papers

Descriptive Summary

Title: Sara J. González Papers
Creator: González, Sara
Inclusive Dates: 1930s-2018
Bulk Dates: 1996-2008
Language(s): English
Extent: 6.5 Linear Feet 1 carton and 1 flat box of manuscripts, 5 artifacts, 3 framed objects, 2 scrapbooks, and 4 DVDs
Collection Number: RBRL522
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies
Abstract: Sara J. González was a Cuban exile, restauranteur, and advocate for the Latino and Hispanic business community in Atlanta from 1975-2008. Her collection includes documentation of her life, her work as president of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and numerous awards for her civic and social progress.

Collection Description

Historical Note

Sara Del Carmen Jofre González was born in Havana, Cuba on September 28, 1935. In her youth, she worked briefly as a model and was even selected by Christian Dior for his Havana runway shows. In 1960, the Castro regime denounced Sara's husband, who fled to New York. Sara and her two children, Luis and Ofelia de La Valette, followed later. The pressures of living as exiles in the United States caused fractures in her marriage, which ended in divorce. She and her children eventually left New York to join the Cuban exile community in Miami, where she met and later married Fernando González, then a student at Georgia Tech. The couple lived briefly in Chapel Hill, NC, where Sara's daughter, Isabel, was born, before settling permanently in Atlanta, GA in 1978.

Sara and her family opened Sarita Restaurante Cubano on Bolton Rd. across from the park that would eventually be named in Sara's honor. Though the restaurant ultimately closed, that experience led her to a new career in non-profit advocacy for the Latino and Hispanic business community in Atlanta, as both a fundraiser for the Latin American Association and the director of Hispanic Community Relations for the 1996 Olympic Games.

Her most notable activity was as president of the Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce from 1996-2008. She was responsible for growing AHCC's membership and establishing multiple satellite branches throughout the state, which led to the AHCC rebranding itself as the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She received many honors for her work, including the presigious Purpose Prize from Stanford University.

Sara González passed away on February 18, 2008 from atherosclerosis. Thousands of Atlantans, including then-Mayor Shirley Franklin, attended her funeral. Ten years later, her daughter, Isabel, worked to name a city park in her honor, making Sara J. González Memorial Park the first in Georgia to be named after a Latino/a or Hispanic person.

Scope and Content

This collection document's Sara J. González's life as a prominent Cuban-American in Atlanta, particularly her leadership of the Atlanta (later Georgia) Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other nonprofit activities on behalf of Latino and Hispanic business owners. It is primarily composed of media coverage of González's work and recognition and the Atlanta park named in her honor. It also contains some family photographs and a scrapbook documenting her restaurant, Sarita Restaurante Cubano.

Organization and Arrangement

This collection is arranged into six series: Biography and Career, Awards, Magazine and Newspaper Articles, Oversized Items, Scrapbooks, and Audiovisual. Folders within Biography and Career, Awards, and Magazine and Newspaper Articles are further arranged alphabetically.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

This collection contains digital files. To access these files, please request the folders you would like through the finding aid using your research account. An archivist will be in contact with you to explain how to access the files. Please note that not all file formats are currently supported by the library for research use.

This collection contains audiovisual materials. Reference copies of the audiovisual recordings are available upon request. Research requests will be filled as soon as possible and will be dependent upon the condition of the recordings.

Preferred Citation

Sara J. González Papers. Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies. University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Copyright Information

Before material from collections at the Richard B. Russell Library may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permissions. Persons wishing to quote from materials in the Russell Library collection should consult the Director. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding Aid prepared by Robert Lay, August 2022.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (Atlanta, GA)
Hispanic Americans
Immigrants -- Cuba -- History
Nonprofit organizations.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


Biography and Career

0101Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, 1994-1996
0102Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 1996
0103Biographies, 1998-2008
0104Cuban Passport and Naturalization, 1960-1974
0105Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Gala, 2006
0106Latin American Association, 1993
0107"My Mother, My Community," by Isabel González Whitaker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2018
0108Obituary, Condolences, and Memorials, 2008
0109Photograph, Consumers' Choice Award for Business Excellence, 2002
0110Photographs, 1930s-2000s
0111Sara J. González Park, 2009


0112Academy of Women Achievers Honoree, YWCA of Greater Atlanta, 2003
0113Atlanta Technical College Bridge Builder Award, [2003]
0114Purpose Prize, 2007
03United Airlines: A World of Thanks, undated
04Purpose Prize, 2007
05Regional Leadership Institute Award, September 1997
06Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Award, undated
07Seven Stages Leading Lady Award, with stand, April 30, 2002

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

0115AARP Segunda Juventud, "Advocacy Knocks", October 2007
0116Articles, 1997-2008
0117Atlanta Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Comercio Newsletter, November 1997
0118Atlanta Magazine, "World Class: Fifty-five of the Most Influential Foreign-Born Atlantans", Octover 2007
0119Atlanta Woman, "Atlanta's Leading Ladies Share New Year's Resolutions", 2008
0120Atlanta Woman, "Five Legendary Women We Love", 2006
0121Atlanta Woman, "Woman to Woman, What Does Diversity Mean to You?", April 2002
0122Business to Business "Atlanta 10 Years From Today," Panel Interview, 2007
0123Business to Business, "Divas 2006", July 2006
0124Business to Business, Q&A with Sara González, February 2008
0125Contemporary Business Communication, by Scot Ober, 6th edition, 2006
0126Dossier Magazine Article, "Atlanta's Hall of Fame", November 1997
0127Georgia Living, "Making Connections: The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce helps members plant roots in businesses", undated
0128Georgia Trend, "2007 Notable Georgians", January 2007
0129Latina Style, "A Latina Trailblazer", 2008
0130"Special Driver's License Won't Help Immigrants," by Sara González, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 6, 2003
0131"That's What Friends Are For," editorial by Sara González, Forum, July 1997
0132Today's Atlanta Woman, International Business Profile, 1998
0133Women Looking Ahead, Dedication Drives Successful Women in Non-Profit Leadership", Mary 2000
0134Women Looking Ahead News Magazine, 15th Anniversary Collector's Edition: A Celebration of Women, 2005

Oversized Items

0201Proclamations, Resolutions, 2001-2008
0202Photograph, "Sara as child in Cuba", 1930s
0203Tribute, "In Loving Memory, Sara Del Carmen Jofre González", February 2008
0204The Champion Newspaper, Memories and Milestones, "20 Years of Community Champions", 2011
08Framed Newspaper, La Visión Newspaper, "Sara J. González ¡Vive!", September 2009
09Framed Georgia State Senate Resolution in Honor of Sara González, March 11, 2008
10Laminated Wood Plaque of Today's Atlanta Woman profile of Sara González, 1998


11Personal Scrapbook, undated
12Scrapbook, "Sarita's", undated


RBRL522-DVD_0001RBRL522-DVD_0003GPB: Georgia Women's Summit with Bonnie Erb ( 00:28:00 minutes DVD (2 copies) )
RBRL522-DVD_0002Sara J. Gonzalez Purpose Prize Awards Ceremony, 2007 ( 00:07:00 minutes 1 DVD )
RBRL522-DVD_0004Sara González Tribute, June 10, 2008