Manuel Hernández Acevedo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a family of very humble means. In order to help make ends meet, he left school after the fourth grade and went to work as a shoemaker, an apprentice sign painter and cook. A self-taught artist, he later joined the Workshop for Graphic Arts of the Community Education Division for the Department of Public Instruction and began exploring silkscreen as his print medium under the direction of Irene Delano.
His work, described as Naive because of its spontaneous character and use of simple, bold color, focused primarily on what he saw: the streets and houses of Old San Juan with their characteristic little details of laundry, overhead power wires and small kites.
Hernández Acevedo's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in New York and Puerto Rico and is found in important private and public collections, including the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. His most recent posthumous exhibit was organized by the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in 2002 as a parallel show to its presentation of "Naive Painting From The Musée International D'Art Naif Anatole Jakovsky".