Remembering Lolita Lebron – The BBC’s “Last Word” radio program

Lolita Lebrón
Puerto Rican nationalist who has died aged 90.  LISTEN TO THE REPORT Lolita Lebron Obit on BBC Radio 8-6-10

Lolita Lebron did not expect to live beyond March 1st 1954. That was the day she led a gun attack on the US House of Representatives which wounded several congressman and saw her jailed for the next 25 years. The former beauty queen from the island of Puerto Rico soon became the poster woman for the nationalist struggle to gain independence from the US and she is often now compared to the revolutionaries Che Guevara and Pancho Villa.

Jane spoke to one of her co-activists who took part in the attack in 1954, Rafael Cancel Miranda, and to Angelo Falcon of the National Institute for Latino Policy.

Dolores “Lolita” Lebrón was born 19 November 1919 and died 1 August 2010

One thought on “Remembering Lolita Lebron – The BBC’s “Last Word” radio program

  1. At the Memorial Service in the Bronx, two weeks ago, an elderly African American offerred what we consider a remarkable testimonial tribute to Lolita Lebron. His name is Mr. Playthell and his words, recorded by us, opened an entirely new insight into the impact or influence the Attack on Congress on March 1, 1954 may have had on the Civil Rights Movement.

    Mr. Playthell recalled how deeply affected he was by the news of the attack. He was originally from the South and was constantly confronting the oppressive strictures of segregation. The Attack on Congress shook his world, made him think that the American status quo could be changed. He had never heard of Puerto Rico, knew nothing about Puerto Ricans. But now he felt inspired. He wanted to meet this “lady who had led the attack.” He wanted to learn more about what they had done and why. What was possible for the future? How could things be changed? Two years later, in 1956, he joined the Civil Rights Movement which had begun in 1955.

    We are seeking to explore the impact the Puerto Rican Nationalists had on the American psyche and society. This has been, we believe, consciously or unconsciously erased from our historical memory.

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