Here’s a video of Felipe Luciano, a Nuyorican poet and founding member of the Last Poets, a music group founded in New York City which grew out of the black nationalist movement. Luciano was also a founding member of the Young Lords, a Puerto Rican nationalist group, which advocated neighborhood solidarity in U.S. cities in the face of gentrification. Luciano performed this piece, “Jibaro: My Pretty Nigger”, at a legendary concert held at Sing Sing prison in 1978. The poem itself is a powerful expression of racial pride and solidarity. It is also a meditation on the interconnectedness of Hispanic and African American communities, and the way our ideas about beauty are embedded with racial hierarchy.
This website was created by Megan Malloy and myself (Noella Richman) as a means to explore the way the Puerto Rican diaspora has been narrated through poetry. This project fits in with our studies in our time at NYU as part of the Gallatin Americas Scholars, where we have explored the relationship between Puerto Rico and New York City.
Thus far, we have enjoyed exploring the literary, artistic, and musical traditions of the Puerto Rican community, the cultural and political relationship between Nuyoricans and Puerto Ricans living on the island, and how activism and politics have evolved between Puerto Rico and the US after the Spanish American War. We were also granted the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico in January, which allowed for deeper explorations of these themes.
During this time, Megan and I became interested in researching first-hand accounts of the “Nuyorican” diaspora. When we returned to the US, we conducted interviews, went to an open mic poetry event at the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe in the East Village, and looked to online and written sources to collect information for this website. Our hope is that by presenting information in a myriad of forms, such as interviews, photographs, videos, personal narratives, journalistic accounts, and audio clips, we can get a fuller picture of a varied and multi-tonal movement. We hope that the information we have culled together on this website will serve as a springboard for deeper conversations on these subjects.
Poster by the Puerto Rican Artist Ernesto Ramos-Nieves
We understand that this is a very brief survey of complex issues of identity, politics, citizenship, and race. We welcome any feedback, contributions and comments to the website. Please feel free to contact us: Megan Malloy at firstname.lastname@example.org or Noella Richman at email@example.com.