¡Adelante Hermanas de La Raza!

Josefina Silva de Cintrón and Puerto Rican Women’s Feminismo
  • Patricia A. Schechter
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)


Gertrude Stein’s last opera featured an iconic virgin “mother” who voiced skepticism about voting as a reliable device for determining what’s right—or anyone’s rights. In similar spirit, Puerto Rican feminists in New York City endorsed equal political rights for women but also critiqued the trappings and rituals of liberal citizenship. The monthly magazine Artes y Letras, published in Spanish between 1933 and 1939 by Josefina Silva de Cintrón (1884–1988), conveys the rich landscape of their thinking and activism.1 In Stein’s opera, “mother” was literally a fabulous metaphor. So, too, was Artes y Letras rife with maternal iconography, though the journal also documented the everyday loves and labors of living mothers with very real children. Its editors focused on flags rather than statuary. As Stein so keenly grasped, the expression of modern nationalism involved public performances and stagings in which control over images is essential. Artes y Letras focused on just such fields of activity, placed Puerto Rican women’s mothering at the center of its perspective, and labeled it all feminismo.


Postage Stamp Puerto Rican Woman Peace Movement Spanish Surname Fair Organizer 
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© Patricia A. Schechter 2012

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  • Patricia A. Schechter

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