60 Years of Solidarity between Movements & Across Generations

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In Honor of Black History Month

In old prisons half a century ago. At marches and rallies across the country. With different representatives. For freedom and Independence. Expungement. Ousting the U.S. Navy from Vieques. A Battered Black woman who fought back. A ground-breaking collection of political prisoner biographies from different movements. International Tribunals across the decades. The younger generation demands freedom for its elders. Closing the circle. The Next generation.

This is the thread of struggle and freedom between the Black Liberation Movement and the Puerto Rican Independence Movement.

For Black History Month, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center is honored to publish a representative collage of solidarity between Puerto Rican independence and Black Freedom Struggles over the last 60 years.

  1. Rafael Cancel Miranda and Herman Bell (with sunglasses). Leavenworth Prison, KS Circa 1960s.
  2. Myrna Salgado, José E. López, Michael Deutsch, and Leon Bates, ex-prisoner who served time with Rafael Cancel Miranda at Marion Federal Penitentiary, at Federal Building rally, circa mid-1970s
  3. Rally to Free the Puerto Rican Nationalists, Washington DC, Washington DC May 1977 (marching to the Washington Monument) Andres Figueroa Cordero, The Puerto Rican Nationalist was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter ahead of Rafael Cancel Miranda, Lolita Lebrón, Oscar Collazo, and Irvin Flores Rodríguez because he had terminal cancer. From left- Unknown woman holding banner, Antonio Colón, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Secretary General of the Puerto Rican Socialist League, Omowale Kefing of the Afrikan People’s Socialist Party, Myrna Salgado, Maria Cueto (Mexican grand jury resister), and Maria Gallegos.
  4. Leavenworth Federal Prison, Circa early 1990s. First row, 2nd person from right to left, Jihad Abdulmumit, 4th person Kazi Toure. Top row, Oscar López Rivera, 2nd from right.
  5. Leavenworth Federal Prison, Circa early 1990s. From right to left: Kazi Toure, Oscar López Rivera.
  6. Chicago, IL 1980s. The PRCC, State Rep. Constance “Connie” Howard, and the Black Community worked together on the issue of expungement. The picture is of a march at Cook County Jail, located at 26th and California. José E. López, center of the crowd, is speaking. 
  7. July 4, 1978, Plains, GA (Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter’s hometown)
    1st row, from left to right: Norma Torres holding Puerto Rican flag, Maria Elena Carabez holding the Mexican end of the flag, 2nd row, from left to right: Jose David Quiñones, Eva and Eusebio, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School (PACHS) students, Alicia Cruz (holding Free Dessie and Assata sign) PACHS student, holding Puerto Rican flag in the dark blue guayabera, José E. López. 3rd row and beyond, visually, from left to right: Terry Bisson holding a sign neck-high, ex-political prisoners Luis Rosa with hat on, face partially obscured by the upraised arm, Felix Rosa with hat on, Maria Elena Gallegos, (deceased) PRCC activist, behind her with hat partially off, Roberto Caldero. Photo credit: Steven Shavers 
  8. Cover of Can’t Jail the Spirit, 1985- This ground-breaking educational collection of biographies of political prisoners in the US was compiled by the Committee to End the Marion Lockdown and published by the National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War.
  9. On May 1, 2003, the US Navy officially abandoned the use of Vieques as a training ground for maneuvers and war games, culminating in a struggle that had been ongoing for more than 60 years and was supported for the last decade by church and peace groups worldwide. The National Committee to Free Puerto Rican Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War and its descendant, the National Boricua Human Rights Network, as well as other organizations in the diaspora, converged on Vieques on this day to celebrate the victory and commemorate those activists who paved the way. Chicago was able to mobilize more than 50 activists for that weekend. In Chicago, community leaders rallied at a press conference. From left to right: Melvin Méndez, Pablo Medina, Juan Marcos Vilar (in the background), Madii Amill, José E. López, Jesse Jackson, Beti Guevara and Norma Peña.
  10. FCI Lewisburg, PA Circa 1996-1998, Political Prisoner Jihad Abdulmumit, James Watson, Political Prisoner Edwin Cortés, Rev. Nozomi Ikuta of the Interfaith Prisoners of Conscience Ministry (IPOC), and Political Prisoner Ricardo Jiménez.
  11. Chicago, IL 2011- Minister Abel Muhammed of the Nation of Islam speaking at the “32 Days for 32 Years” closing event organized by the National Boricua Human Rights Network and Cafe Batey Urbano. A significant event in the campaign to free the Puerto Rican Political Prisoners eventually spread to New York and Puerto Rico. The event spanned 8 years.
  12. Chicago, IL, Circa 2015 Black Political Prisoner Sekou Kambui, who spent 47 years behind bars, speaks at an educational hosted by the PRCC. He passed away in May 2017.
  13. Chicago, IL- April 2022. PRCC activist Xiomara Rodríguez, wearing a “Bring Sundiata Home” beanie in solidarity with the Alliance to Bring Sundiata Home, stands in front of the community mural “Somos la Marejada del Futuro” (We are the wave of the future) on Oscar López Rivera that also depicts Black Political Prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and Native American Leonard Peltier, among others.
  14. New York, 2019, Luis Alejandro Molina and former political prisoner Jihad Abdulmumit at an Alliance to Bring Sundiata Acoli Home meeting.
  15. October 2021, New York- Activists Lumumba Bandele, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Najha Zigbi Johnson, former director of institutional development at the Shabazz Center, and former political prisoners Oscar López Rivera and Sekou Odinga at the International Tribunal.
  16. New York, NY, June 2021. Former political prisoners Herman Bell and Oscar López Rivera enjoyed discussion and dinner.
  17. New York, NY, circa 2022. Former Black political prisoner Sekou Odinga and PRCC activist Jessie Fuentes.