MPI contingent at the 1970 Puerto Rican Parade in 1970; the banner reads: “Parade One Day of the Year, Unemployment Every Day.” (Claridad photo, via Interference Archive)

We Americans tend to view our history in black and white — understandably, because our country was founded by European colonizers who enslaved Africans. But often this comes at the expense of considering how other peoples who’ve lived here have shaped the United States. One of the most overlooked forces of political activism is the Puerto Rican community. An event happening this Saturday, April 22, at Interference Archive, will school attendees in some of the stories they’ve been missing.

Cover of The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices From the Diaspora

The discussion will be spearheaded by Carmen Vivian Rivera and José E. Velázquez, two leaders of Movimiento Pro Independencia (MPI)/Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) in the US. Rivera and Velázquez will reflect on their political experiences and share highlights of their work chronicling 1960s–80s Puerto Rican diasporic activism, with a focus on two projects: the 1998 book The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices From the Diaspora, which was edited by Velázquez and PSP member Andrés Torres and was “the first to offer a comprehensive look at the Puerto Rican Left organizations and campaigns that emerged in the late 1960s”; and the ¡Despierta Boricua! Recovering History Project, an archive focused on the work of the PSP and its newspaper, Claridad. A traveling exhibition of items from the archive is currently in the works, and attendees at Interference Archive will get a preview of some of its contents.

When: Saturday, April 22, 6:30–8:30pm
Where: Interference Archive (131 8th Street, #4, Gowanus, Brooklyn)

More info here.

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Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art...