Guide to the Lourdes Torres Papers
(Bulk 1970s-1990s)

Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Phone: (212) 772-5151
Fax: (212) 650-3628

© Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY. All rights reserved.
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY: Publisher

Processed by Ismael García with the assistance of Izzy De Moya, Damary González, Myrna Tinoco, and Noelia Urbano, March 2003

Machine-readable finding aid derived from a MS Word document dated: 2005. Machine-readable finding aid created by Brian Stevens. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Torres, Lourdes, 1953-
Title: Lourdes Torres Papers
Dates: 1967-2000, (Bulk 1970s-1990s)
Abstract: Community activist, educator and organizer. Resource for understanding the role of Puerto Rican activists in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, for examining the struggles for civil rights of the Puerto Rican community in New York, the history of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights and the Committee Against Fort Apache. Included are reports, flyers, letters and memoranda, press releases and news clippings, as well as photographs.
Quantity: 7.13 cubic feet (15 boxes)
Call Phrase: 1993_02

Historical/Biographical Note

Lourdes Torres is a community activist from the South Bronx area of New York City. She was active in numerous organizations including Union Estudiantil Pedro Albizu Campos (Pedro Albizu Campos Student Union), the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights and the Committee Against Fort Apache. Currently she is the Director of the Office of Development and Grants Administration at Hostos Community College.

Torres was born on August 2, 1953, the fifth of seven children of Clorinda Valentín and Joaquín Torres Rivera who migrated to New York from Puerto Rico in the 1930s. Despite limited economic resources, her parents sent her to Catholic schools believing that this would give her a more solid education. From first to eighth grade, Torres attended St. Athanasius (1959-1964) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1964-1967) in the Bronx. When she started high school in the ninth grade, she received a scholarship to an all girls school, the Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Manhattan (1967-1971). In her second year, she lost the scholarship and had to work in order to pay for tuition. At this point in her adolescent years, she formed a club of Latina students and began to more consciously identify herself as Puerto Rican. She also participated in meetings of ASPIRA that motivated her to pursue a college education and to develop personal goals. Torres was also inspired by the Young Lords Organization and although she was never a member, she learned from them to take pride in her Puerto Rican heritage.

In 1971, Torres entered Queens College for an undergraduate degree. It was during her college years that she became involved with the Unión Estudiantil Pedro Albizu Campos, an organization which aimed to unite Puerto Rican students through educational programs and conferences. Torres graduated in the spring of 1976 with a BA in Education and Linguistics.

It was in the summer of 1976 that she made a first and memorable trip to Puerto Rico. Upon her return to New York, she worked as a public school teacher for six months, but was dismissed due to the fiscal crisis in New York City and the lack of funds for her position. From 1977 to 1980 she taught classes on bilingual education and the Puerto Rican child in the Department of Puerto Rican Studies at Queens College. From 1977 to 1978 she completed a Masters degree in Bilingual Education at St. John's University.

As a community activist, Lourdes Torres played a leading role in several civil rights organizations. In 1981 she became active in the Committee Against Fort Apache which was created in protest to the film Fort Apache: the Bronx. The film, a negative portrayal of the South Bronx community, is filled with racist overtones. Around this same period, Torres joined an organizing committee for the creation of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, which became an important civil rights organization. She served as National Secretary, and as coordinator of the Puerto Rico chapter and the New York council.

During the 1980s, Torres worked for various institutions. She worked as a curator for the Bronx Museum of the Arts (1980-1982) and was a teacher trainer for the National Origins Desegregation Center (1982-1986) and for the Early Childhood Bilingual Multicultural Resource Center (1982-1986). Since 1987 she has been working at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York and has occupied the following positions: Director of the Office of Community and Continuing Education and the Adult Basic Education Program (1987-1997), Special Assistant to the President (1987-1992), lecturer in the Department of Health and Human Services (1992-1995) and more recently as the Director of the Office of Development and Grants Administration.

Lourdes Torres' papers complement the papers of Diana Caballero and Luis O. Reyes. They were all active in language rights and educational reform as well as in key civil rights organizations. Torres was part of an important generation of community leaders and her papers are a good resource for understanding the role of Puerto Rican activists in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s.

Scope and Content Note

This collection is important for examining the struggles for civil rights of the Puerto Rican community in New York, the history of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights and the Committee Against Fort Apache. There is also information about bilingual education, and other organizations committed to civil rights goals.


The folders are alphabetical and the materials are organized in chronological order. The types of materials included are reports, flyers, letters and memoranda, press releases and news clippings as well as photographs.
The collection is divided into the following series:
I. Biographical and Personal Information
II. Correspondence
III. Notes
IV. The National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights
V. The Committee Against Fort Apache
VI. Rafael Rivera García
VII. Organizations
VIII. Subject Files
IX. Clippings
X. Photographs


Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora
Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Phone: (212) 772-5151
Fax: (212) 650-3628

Access Points

Subject Names:
López Antonetty, Evelina, 1922-1984.
Rivera Garcia, Rafael.
Rodriguez Trias, Helen, 1922-2001.
Serrano, José, 1943-
Velázquez, Nydia M., 1953-
Subject Organizations:
Black and Latino Coalition Against Police Brutality.
City University of New York.
Committee Against Fort Apache.
National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights.
Puerto Rican Council on Higher Education.
Young Lords (Organization).
Subject Topics:
Agricultural laborers, Puerto Rican.
Education, Bilingual -- New York (State) -- New York.
Education, Higher -- New York (State) -- New York.
Education -- New York (State) -- New York.
English-only movement.
Hispanic Americans -- Education -- New York (State) -- New York.
Hispanic Americans -- Education -- United States.
Human rights.
Language and culture.
Language and education.
Language policy.
Migrant labor.
Multicultural education -- New York (State) -- New York.
Police brutality.
Police brutality -- New York (State) -- New York.
Puerto Rican women -- New York (State) -- New York.
Puerto Ricans in New York (City)
Puerto Ricans -- Education -- New York (State) -- New York.
Puerto Ricans -- New York (State) -- New York.
Puerto Ricans -- New York (State) -- Social conditions.
Sterilization (Birth control).
Sterilization of women.
Document Types:
Press releases.

Administrative Information


Gift of Lourdes Torres

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date (if known); The Lourdes Torres Papers; 1993_02; box number; folder number;
Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños Archives, Hunter College, CUNY

Processing Information

Processed with a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. Funding was also provided by a congressional directed initiative sponsored by Congressman José Serrano and administered by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Other Finding Aid

Guide to the Lourdes Torres papers available in Spanish: Spanish Version

Container List

[The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.]


Series I: Biographical and Personal Information (1981-1990)

Scope and Content:

This series contains curriculum vitae, and a history of her work at Hostos Community College and at Queens College, mailing lists, and financial information.

Box Folder Title Date
1 1 Biographical Information undated
1 2 Financial Statements 1984-1985
1 3 Job Related Information 1983-1990
1 4 Mailing Lists undated, 1981

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Series II: Correspondence (1975-2000)

Scope and Content:

Lourdes Torres maintained strong links with many of the activists of the New York community and this series contains a wealth of correspondence with community leaders. There is, for example, correspondence with Evelina López Antonetty, Executive Director of United Bronx Parents concerning, among other issues, the efforts to maintain bilingual education programs. Torres’ interest in educational reform is evident in her communications with Nathan Quiñones, New York City School’s Chancellor about the exclusion of Puerto Rican history from the public school curriculum. Letters on the case of Rafael Rivera García, a professor involved in a civil rights suit, are also included in the series.

Box Folder Title Date
1 5-6 Incoming undated, 1975-1991
1 7 Invitations 1980-1987
1 8 Outgoing undated, 1975-2000

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Series III: Notes (1979-1991)

Scope and Content:

This series contains an abundance of notes about the meetings and activities in which Torres participated. It includes a notebook and writings on loose sheets of paper.

Box Folder Title Date
1 9 Notebook undated
1 10 Notes undated
Box Folder Title Date
2 1-3 Notes undated, 1979-1991

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Series IV: The National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights (1960-1992)

Scope and Content:

This series contains a significant amount of information on the establishment, goals, structure, and programs of this crucial civil rights organization. Included are the Bylaws and material about the various work groups. The Bylaws folder contains documents explaining the primary goal of the organization, which was to bring together at a national level people from all sectors of the community such as student groups, labor unions, professionals, artists, and politicians among others to work for improving the quality of life of Puerto Ricans in the United States. There are reports from organization presidents including a detailed one from Diana Caballero summarizing problems and issues raised at national conventions with suggestions and proposals for ways that the various Puerto Rican organizations could support each another. Torres’ own work as National Secretary is amply documented.

Box Folder Title Date
2 4 Agendas undated
2 5 Bank Account 1986
2 6 Bilingual Education undated
2 7 Bylaws undated, 1981-1985
2 8 Caballero, Diana-President 1984-1986
2 9-10 Conventions-First National Convention undated
Box Folder Title Date
3 1 Conventions-First National Convention, 1977-1982
3 2 Conventions-Second National Convention 1983-1984
3 3-4 Conventions-Third National Convention undated, 1984-1985
3 5 Conventions-Fourth National Convention undated, 1986-1987
3 6 Conventions-Fifth National Convention undated, 1989
3 7 Conventions-Sixth National Convention undated, 1990-1991
Box Folder Title Date
4 1-2 Outgoing undated, 1981-1990
4 3 Cultural Issues undated, 1983
4 4 Electoral Project undated, 1985
4 5 Finances 1983-1985
4 6 Financial Reports undated, 1981-1983
4 7 Flyers undated, 1983-1987
4 8 General Information undated, 1981-1983
4 9 Health Task Force undated, 1981-1982
4 10 Hoboken undated, 1981-1985
4 11 Incorporation Records 1981
4 12 Invitations 1982
4 13 Justice Committee undated, 1989-1991
4 14 Labor Task Force undated
4 15 Labor Task Force-Puerto Rican Worker undated, 1985
4 16 Latin American and Caribbean Task Force undated, 1984
4 17 Long Island Chapter undated
4 18 Mailing Lists and Phone Numbers undated, 1990
4 19 March on Washington undated, 1983-1986
4 20 Marroquín, Héctor-Deportation Case undated, 1985
Box Folder Title Date
5 1 Meetings 1981-1985
5 2-3 Membership undated, 1981-1983
5 4 Memoranda-Incoming 1981-1991
5 5 Memoranda-Outgoing 1980-1983
5 6 Moving of Mountains-A Leadership Manual 1986
5 7 National Board undated, 1983-1985
5 8 National Executive Committee 1981-1983
Box Folder Title Date
6 1 National Executive Committee 1984-1985
6 2 National Investigation Commission undated, 1983-1984
6 3 National Labor Task Force 1988
6 4 National Puerto Rican March for Justice undated, 1981-1986
6 5 National Puerto Rican Women's Task Force 1981
6 6 National Task Force 1984
6 7 New Jersey State Council 1983
6 8 Newsletters 1981-1990
6 9-10 New York City Chapter undated, 1981-1992
6 11 New York Committee to Free the Puerto Rican Nationalist Prisoners 1979
6 12 New York State Assembly undated, 1982
6 13 New York State Council undated, 1983-1984
Box Folder Title Date
7 1 Olmo, Robert III-U. S. Army Discharge Case 1987
7 2 Organizational Structure undated
7 3 Organizing undated
7 4 Padres Unidos 1983
7 5 Pennsylvania State Chapter undated, 1987
7 6 Pérez, Richie 1987
7 7 Pledge Drive undated, 1985-1986
7 8 Press Releases 1986-1991
7 9 Presser, Jackie-President, Teamster's Union 1984
7 10 Proposal to Continue the Basic Program of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights undated
7 11 Proposals undated, 1987
7 12 Proposed National Task Forces 1983
7 13 Puerto Rican Council on Higher Education undated, 1990
7 14 Puerto Rican Politics undated, 1960-1978
7 15 Puerto Ricans in the United States undated, 1971-1987
7 16 Racial Attacks undated, 1989
7 17 Reports 1983-1985
7 18 Speeches and Statements undated, 1981-1988
7 19 Stationary undated, 1981
7 20 Status of Puerto Ricans in the United States-Report 1987-1991
7 21 Solidarity Day undated, 1981
Box Folder Title Date
8 1 United Nations undated, 1981-1983
8 2 Washington Information Resource Center 1983
8 3 Women's Task Force undated, 1983-1986
8 4 Work Plan Resolution undated
8 5 Work Team on Political Development 1986
8 6 Youth Project 1980-1982

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Series V: The Committee Against Fort Apache (1980-1987)

Scope and Content:

There is a good deal of material documenting the work of the Committee Against Fort Apache particularly local and national articles about the debate sparked by the film Fort Apache: the Bronx. Included is a letter to Norman Levy, President of FOX studios from Congressman William Grey protesting the film’s stereotypical depiction of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos.

Box Folder Title Date
8 7-10 General undated, 1980-1987

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Series VI: Rafael Rivera García (1988-1990)

Scope and Content:

The documents in this series concern the case against Prof. Rivera García who was brought up on charges in a shooting incident where he claimed he was defending his civil rights. There are news articles, reports and petitions in support of Rivera García.

Box Folder Title Date
9 1-2 General undated, 1988-1990
9 3 Petitions to Dismiss Charges 1989

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Series VII: Organizations (1969-1990)

Scope and Content:

Most of the materials document diverse Puerto Rican and Latino organizations in New York. In the area of educational reform there are organizations such as the Puerto Rican Council on Higher Education (undated, 1980-1990) whose goal it was to increase the presence of Puerto Ricans in the CUNY colleges and to advocate for equal educational opportunities. Torres was the coordinator of this council. There is information about the Puerto Rican Socialist Party notably a document titled "The Political Declaration of the United States Branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party" and also about the Young Lords Organization. Among the documents are some related to US English, an offshoot of the English Only movement.

Box Folder Title Date
9 4 All People's Congress undated, 1981
9 5-6 Asociación de Trabajadores Agrícolas undated, 1973-1975
9 7 ASPIRA-New York undated, 1983
9 8 Coalition for Racial Justice undated
9 9 Coalition in Defense of Puerto Rican and Hispanic Rights undated, 1981
9 10 Centro de Juventud Latinoamericana undated
9 11 Comité de Madres undated
9 12 Comité en Defensa del Idioma 1990
9 13 Comité Pro Libertad de los Presos Nacionalistas Puertorriqueños/Committee for the Freedom of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Prisioners undated
9 14 Comité Regional de Pastoral Hispana del Noroeste de Estados Unidos undated, 1974-1976
9 15 Committee of Solidarity for Puerto Rican Liberation undated
9 16 Concilio Pastoral Juvenil undated, 1974-1975
Box Folder Title Date
10 1 Congreso Boricua de New Jersey-Puerto Rican Congress of New Jersey undated, 1979-1981
10 2 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, Inc. 1989
10 3 Educadores del Pueblo undated
10 4 Ejército Popular Boricua/ Macheteros 1981
10 5 Hispanic Political Contributions 1984
10 6 Institute for Puerto Rican Policy, Inc. 1986
10 7 Junta de Acción Puertorriqueña undated
10 8 Juventud Independentista Universitaria (JIU) 1972
10 9 Latin American Community Center undated
10 10 Liga Socialista 1977-1978
10 11 Language Rights Coalition 1990
10 12 MADRE undated
10 13 Movimiento de Izquierda Nacional Puertorriqueño 1974-1975
10 14 Movimiento de Liberación Nacional undated
10 15 Movimiento Pro Independencia (MPI) 1969
10 16 Mujeres Latinoamericanas de New Haven, Inc. 1981
10 17 Museo del Barrio undated
10 18 National Conference for Puerto Rican Women, Inc. 1981
10 19 New Rican Village undated, 1978-1980
10 20 New York Coalition for Bilingual Education undated, 1983
10 21 New York Committee to Free the Puerto Rican Nationalist Prisoners 1977-1982
10 22 New York Language Rights Committee 1990
10 23 Partido Socialista Puertorriqueño undated, 1973
10 24 Partido Socialista Revolucionario undated, 1976
10 25 Pedro Albizu Campos High School 1986-1987
10 26 People Against White Supremacy undated
10 27 Progress, Inc. 1981-1982
10 28 Puerto Rican Alliance undated, 1981
10 29 Puerto Rican Association for Community Affairs, Inc. 1981-1984
10 30 Puerto Rican Association for Political Affairs 1981-1982
10 31 Puerto Rican Civil Service Employees Association, Inc. undated
10 32 Puerto Rican Council for Higher Education undated
Box Folder Title Date
11 1 Puerto Rican Council for Higher Education 1980-1990
11 2 Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. undated, 1980-1983
11 3 Puerto Rican Organization for Growth, Research Education and Self Sufficiency 1985-1986
11 4 Puerto Ricans for Quality Education 1985
11 5 Taller Latinoamericano undated
11 6 The Puerto Rican Family Institute 1979
11 7 Unión Estudiantil Boricua undated
11 8 Union for Puerto Rican Students Northeastern Illinois University 1975
11 9 United Bronx Parents, Inc. undated, 1983
11 10 U. S. English undated, 1983-1987
11 11 Young Lords Party 1971-1972

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Series VIII: Subject Files (1967-1991)

Scope and Content:

Some of the topics included here are bilingual education: the English Only Movement, police brutality, and the sterilization of women of color. There are presentations, notes, and declarations of various kinds. One example is “A Declaration of the International Community about the Crime of Genocide Against the Puerto Rican People.” Included is a presentation titled “Women and Health Care System Sterilization Abuse” by Dr. Helen Rodríguez, an outspoken critic of sterilization practices, (Nov. 10, 1976).

Box Folder Title Date
11 12-14 Bilingual Education undated, 1981-1989
Box Folder Title Date
12 1 Bibliographies undated, 1977
12 2 Caney Notes-Newsletter undated
12 3 Canino, María Josefa-Appointment to the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York undated, 1985-1990
12 4 Chamba Notes-Newsletter 1980
12 5 Coming World War, Puerto Rican Unity and Mass Movement Monks 1983
12 6 Community March to Denounce Racial Violence undated, 1986
12 7 Community School Board Elections undated
12 8 Conciencia Estudiantil 1975
12 9 Condition of Latinos in the City of University of New York 1990
12 10 Cuba undated, 1978-1982
12 11 Detoxification and Puerto Rico's Plebiscite undated
12 12 Día Nacional de Solidaridad con Puerto Rico-Madison Square Garden 1974
12 13 Education 1982-1984
12 14 English Only Movement undated, 1988-1990
12 15 Event Programs undated, 1979-1991
12 16 Films undated, 1974-1983
Box Folder Title Date
13 1 General Project to Develop Bilingual / Bicultural Materials for Teacher Training at Fordham University 1981
13 2 Grito de Lares undated, 1968-1982
13 3 Hispanic Organizations undated
13 4 Hispanic Work Force: Growth and Inequality undated
13 5 Hostos Community College - Presidential Search Committee undated, 1986-1987
13 6 Immigration and the Puerto Rican New Yorker undated
13 7 Institute for Urban and Military Education undated, 1983-1985
13 8 Jackson, Jesse - Presidential Candidate undated, 1984
13 9 Jobs with Peace Campaign undated
13 10 Latin Monthly-Newsletter undated
13 11 Leyendas Puertorriqueñas 1975
13 12 Mayoral Race and the Puerto Rican Latino Community in New York City undated, 1984-1985
13 13 Migrant Education undated, 1976-1978
13 14 Migrant Farm Workers undated
13 15 Migration, Return, and Development in Puerto Rico 1968
13 16 Minority Parent Participation Model 1979
13 17 New Rican Village undated, 1983
13 18 New York State Council undated
13 19 Non - Verbal Communication in Puerto Rico undated
13 20 Nosotros Trabajamos en la Costura… Puerto Rican Women in the Garment Industry undated
13 21 Oasis of Salsa 1980
13 22 Palmieri, Charlie undated
13 23 Pérez, Martín (Tito)-Artist undated, 1974
13 24 Police Brutality undated, 1979-1991
13 25 Police Brutality-Puerto Rican Women undated, 1987
13 26 Political Prisoners undated, 1981
13 27 Project SABE 1978
13 28 Public Education Association Reports undated
13 29 Puerto Rican Culture undated
13 30 Puerto Rican Diaspora Documentary Project undated, 1981
13 31 Puerto Rican Studies undated1981-1985
13 32 Puerto Ricans and the Environment 1991
Box Folder Title Date
14 1 Puerto Ricans in the United States undated, 1971-1983
14 2 Puerto Rico undated, 1967
14 3 Racial Attacks 1986
14 4 Racial Justice 1986-1991
14 5 Resumes undated
14 6 Rivera, Manuel Jr.-Captain 1991
14 7 Role of Puerto Rican Communists in the National Movement undated
14 8 Segundo Encuentro Nacional Hispano de Pastoral 1977
14 9 Self Identity and the Bicultural Classroom undated
14 10 Serrano, José E. undated
14 11 Spanish Language Newspapers 1980
14 12-13 Sterilization undated, 1974-1982
14 14 The Next Step Towards Equality-A Comprehensive Study of the Puerto Ricans in the United States Mainland 1980
14 15 Una sola nación un solo partido undated
14 16 United States Department of Education 1980-1981
Box Folder Title Date
15 1 United States Intervention in Central America and the Caribbean undated, 1983
15 2 Universidad de Puerto Rico undated, 1981-1982
15 3 Venceremos Cantando-Songs of Struggle undated
15 4 Villa sin Miedo undated, 1982

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Series IX: Clippings (1977-1992)

Scope and Content:

Here are gathered articles about the many issues and problems confronting Latinos in the U.S. There are items on bilingual education and language rights, police brutality, violence, student strikes, and Puerto Rico’s political status.

Box Folder Title Date
15 5 Education undated, 1982-1990
15 6 General undated, 1981-1992
15 7 National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights 1981-1986
15 8 Police Brutality undated, 1977-1992
15 9 Puerto Rican and Hispanic Issues undated, 1977-1992
15 10 Racial Attacks undated, 1982-1992

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Series X: Photographs (undated)

Scope and Content:

Most of the photographs reflect activities in which Torres took part such as the Committee Against Fort Apache and the Rafael Rivera García case. There are negatives as well.

Box Folder Title Date
15 9 General undated
15 10 Negatives undated

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