Thursday, August 31, 2017

Annual Celebration of El Grito de Lares 2017 at Holyoke Public Library

Hispanic-American Library Inc. and the Holyoke Public Library
invite you to the Annual Celebration of El Grito de Lares
Guest Speaker:
Dr. Solsiree del Moral
"Modern Puerto Rico: A First Reading"
Friday, September 22, 2017 at 6:00pm at the Holyoke Public Library

Dr. Solsiree del Moral is an Associate Professor   of American Studies and Black Studies, and Chair of American   Studies in Amherst College. She is the author of Negotiating
  Empire: The Cultural Politics of Schools in Puerto Rico, 1898-1952   (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). The book is a history of U.S.   Empire, Puerto Rican educators, and colonial schools in the first half of the twentieth century.
Dr. del Moral will talk about five books on Puerto Rican history that she considers essential to understanding Puerto Rico and US colonialism.
This presentation is based on del Moral's review essay published in Radical History Review, May 2017 edition, titled to Puerto Rico – A US Colony in a Postcolonial World?
She is currently working on two research projects. One studies the English language children's literature assigned to Puerto Rico's colonial classrooms in the early 20thcentury. The second is a history of the children and youth incarcerated in state institutions in the 1940s and 1950s in Puerto Rico.

Celebration: The "Grito de Lares" is Puerto Rico's first and only cry for Independence. On September 23, 1868 between 600 to 1000 men, mostly Puerto Rican born and from the west of the Island, revolted for Independence from Spain. Of the arrested, most were innocent jíbaros, their only guilt was being passive victims of the political regime. The citizens of the Capital as well as the wealthy were indifferent to the independence movement. The men were poorly armed without aid, protection or training. The revolt which was planned for September 29th began instead on the 23rd as a result of betrayal.

The reasons for the defeat were: the betrayal of the plan; Betances' inability to arrive with the weapons or ammunition; and the fact that the general citizenry was lukewarm to the movement.

The reason for the insurrection were: POVERTY, SLAVERY, taxation, lack of opportunity, and military rule.

The revolt was not a total loss. Shortly after the revolt Spain gave the Island many liberal reforms. It extended to Puerto Rico some of the liberal constitution that it had allowed during the war in Spanish America. Puerto Rico received provincial status and Spanish Citizenship was granted to the criollos. Some political reforms granted were allowing Boricuas to participate in special elections and to organize themselves into officially recognized political parties. Abolition of slavery began slowly in 1869 and was completed in 1873 giving freedom to some thirty two thousand slaves. (In 1827 there were approximately four times the number of free Africans in Puerto Rico than slaves. Partly due to the creole's distaste for slavery, often freeing their own slaves.) The libreta system was also canceled during the same year. Some of these concessions were canceled or changed later on but nevertheless the insurrection was fruitful and resulted in an improved lifestyle for the Puerto Ricans.
El Grito de Lares is now immortalized. In 1969 Governor Luis A. Ferré, a statehood supporter, declared September 23rd a National Holiday. Lares was declared a Historic Site by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Lares is known as the birthplace of Puerto Rican Nationalism.

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