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Juana Colón

1886-1967

Born March 27, 1886, in the Río Hondo neighborhood of Comerío. Juana Colón was the daughter of former slaves. She experienced discrimination because of her skin color and African ancestry. She earned her living washing and ironing rich townpeople's clothing. Juana was never able to attend school, so she lived her whole life in illiteracy. This did not prevent her from creating a class consciousness that led her to defend the commercial workers who, like her, lived in poverty. She fought, along with many tobacco workers, for fairer wages and better working conditions. She was prominent in the great tobacco strike of April 1919.

Juana Colón mastered the art of public speaking, given speeches from different tribunes making her a legend. She was an outstanding neighborhood healer, mastering natural medicine, in addition to using her hands to heal injuries in different joints of the body. She was never paid for this work. In 1949 she participated in a village movement that demanded school transportation for the young comerieños(as). She died on January 17, 1967, in the town of Comerío.

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