Vanessa Pérez: Celebrating 99 years of Julia de Burgos


Vanessa Pérez (hello, Vanessa!) has posted an article on Julia de Burgos in The Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt, with a link to the full article below.

On July 5, 1953, in the early morning hours, two New York City police officers spotted a figure lying unconscious in the street near the corner of 5th Avenue and 106th St. in East Harlem. As they approached, they saw it was a towering woman, 5 feet 10 inches, with bronze-colored skin. They rushed her to Harlem Hospital, but she died shortly after midnight of pneumonia.

The woman was not carrying a handbag and had no form of identification on her. No one came to the morgue to claim her body. No missing person’s report fit her description. So she was buried in a potter’s field in New York City. Finally, a month later, the woman was identified as award-winning Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos, and in August of that year her family and friends had her body exhumed and repatriated.

Nearly 60 years after her death, it’s time to identify her again: this time as a role model for contemporary Latina feminist writers and visual artists.

. . .

Julia de Burgos’ life has captured the imagination of many and has been recounted in numerous works of visual art, short stories, ballets, articles, books, plays and music. While the tragic-victim narrative has often predominated, she is, like many other Puerto Rican women who migrated to New York, too complex and multifaceted to be contained within such a limited framework. Moreover, we can remember her as part of the tradition of resistance on the island of Puerto Rico, as well as a champion for civil rights in the United States.

For the complete article go to

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