About the Authors in this Project A site that introduces three Puerto Rican writers who migrated to New York, the archives they left behind, and how students can learn about the literature and history of U.S. Latino communities using their books and personal archives.
Pura Belpré (1901-1982), the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City, was also an accomplished writer. She collected Puerto Rican folktales, translating and publishing them as children’s literature. Her primary motivation in doing so was to bring Puerto Rican culture to the continental United States. In 1931, she authored perhaps the first book published in English in the U.S. by a Puerto Rican author, and certainly the first published by a major publishing house.

Jesus Colón (1901-1974) was a migrant who arrived in New York in 1918. He had an extensive career as a labor organizer and journalist writing for both Spanish and English newspapers. His first book, A Puerto Rican in New York and Other Sketches was published in 1961. It is a collection of sketches and vignettes about the history and culture of Puerto Rican migrants in New York.
Antonia Pantoja (1922-2002) was an activist and founder of community institutions, most notably ASPIRA, an educational organization for Puerto Rican youth. Her belief in the power of community organizing as an effective tool for change is a constant theme in her writing. This belief was also shared by Colón.
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