Nationalist Heroines

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“A group of Nation­al­ists led by Pedro Albizu Cam­pos made it clear that they would free Puer­to Rico from colo­nial rule. A con­fronta­tion between the Nation­al­ists and the colo­nial police in Octo­ber 1935 left four Nation­al­ists dead. Albizu Cam­pos and sev­en of his aides were con­vict­ed on sedi­tious charges and sent to a fed­er­al prison in Atlanta, Geor­gia. His fol­low­ers attempt­ed to hold a demon­stra­tion in Ponce, Albizu Cam­pos’ home­town, and were gunned down by the police: nine­teen were killed and more than one hun­dred and fifty were wound­ed. Eight Nation­al­ists then attempt­ed to kill Gov­er­nor, Blan­ton Win­ship. Back in Puer­to Rico in 1947, Albizu Cam­pos began to plan for a rev­o­lu­tion, which he launched on Octo­ber 30, 1950. A com­man­do unit of five attacked the Gov­er­nor’s res­i­dence while oth­ers assault­ed police sta­tions in half a dozen cities and towns through­out the island. One woman (Doris Tor­reso­la) was shot while pro­tect­ing her leader. The same day Blan­ca Canales was one of three to lead the revolt in Jayuya. Two days lat­er, two Nation­al­ists, res­i­dents of New York, attempt­ed to kill, Pres­i­dent Tru­man at Blair House, his tem­po­rary res­i­dence. Mas­sive arrests fol­lowed and forty-one women were detained on sus­pi­cion they had con­spired with the rebels. Two of the fif­teen women indict­ed were sen­tenced to life in prison. Then, on March 1, 1954, anoth­er woman (Dolores Lebraon) led three male com­pan­ions in the attack of the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives where five con­gress­men were shot for keep­ing Puer­to Rico in bondage. His­to­ri­ans have large­ly over­looked the roles of these Nation­al­ist women. Now the book, Nation­al­ist Hero­ines: Puer­to Rican Women His­to­ry For­got, 1930s-1950s seeks to res­cue the sto­ries of the women who gave up their free­dom in search of free­ing their homeland”–Provided by publisher.
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